Being Loved through Breast Cancer
I met Kristin during my first shift in an urban E.R. in Portland 3 years ago. I was working in Fast Track as a physician assistant, and she was the assigned nurse for the day. She was strong and outspoken and said within minutes of meeting me, "I'm probably going to offend you today. I apologize in advance, okay?"
"Okay," she said, and we got to work.
We worked well together, but other than work, we had little else in common. She was tough, outspoken, tattooed and pierced—and I was none of those things. Earlier in her life she had battled an addiction, and lived in a car while she put herself through nursing school. Then she raised two kids as a single mom while working full time in the E.R.
A year after I left that job, I was having coffee with my friend Stephanie, who works in the same E.R. She told me that Kristin had just been diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer at age 42. She had already started chemotherapy to shrink the tumors, and in a few months would have a mastectomy ...1