Welcome to Kristi's journal. It's a loving record of her fifteen month battle with breast cancer from April 10th, 2012 to July 2, 2013.
We were married for 19 years and 3 months.
A note on Journal Titles: We got her diagnosis on the 1st day after our 18th anniversary. Each plus day notes how long we were on the journey and reminds us of the 18 years of love that went before.
The battle began when Kristi's OB/GYN doc found the lump during her normal, annual visit. She said she didn't think it was anything but wanted to have it looked at. The surgeon said the same thing after his initial exam.
Obviously that didn't turn out to be the case.
Kristi was clinically staged after surgery at 3C with aggressive, poorly differentiated Invasive Ductile Carcinoma. There turned out to be a tumor in each side plus 29 lymph nodes under her right arm. Those were all removed during double mastectomy surgery.
There were two remaining lymph nodes under her right clavicle and near her sternum that were suspect. They were targeted during radiation after chemo.
You can find all these details and more by reading through the journal entries... Like the failed reconstruction, the followup infections, the two extra surgeries and more.
Kristi fought with courage and ferocity through it all.
By mid January 2013 Kristi had finished 6 months of chemotherapy and 33 days of radiation to her chest. She was declared to be in remission at that point with no signs of metastatic disease anywhere in her body.
She had her ovaries removed in mid February as a preventative move against the cancer returning.
She changed to an aromatase inhibitor after that surgery and it resulted in significant bone pain in her legs.
Before that pain abated she started having migraines that worsened until she was vomiting. Her oncologist ordered a brain MRI and the results showed metastatic spread with a tumor in the left side of her head.
She ended up in the hospital because of the severity of the migraines and tests done there showed she has cancer in the meninges as well, the lining of the brain and spinal cord.
Ten days of whole brain radiation followed in mid March 2013 and she was put on a high dose of steroid to help reduce the inflammation in her brain and spinal cord. However the steroid caused a perforated duodenal ulcer that had to be surgically repaired. That was her fifth surgery in 12 months and resulted in another 7 day hospital stay.
She began receiving ongoing chemotherapy directly into her cerebro-spinal fluid via a special port in her head that has been surgically implanted under her skin. It had a catheter extending 6 cm into the center of her brain, allowing the chemo to be injected directly into the right brain ventricle.
Kristi miraculously cleared her CSF (cerebro-spinal fluid) of cancer during the chemo treatments through the port and we were hopeful for several months of good quality of life for her.
However her cancer returned in her skin and lymph nodes throughout her chest and abdomen. We managed to sneek in a short family vacation in mid-June while she was still aware of her surroundings. Immediately following that trip, Kristi began a downward slide and her body finally couldn't fight anymore.
Our friends, family and neighbors have literally extended every type of help imaginable. We can never repay the kindness and love showered on us. It has been a blessing to be able to have so many burdens and concerns lifted by our community of care. Welcome to Kristi's journey, to our journey together in love.