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Kristina & Judy’s Story
Judy: I was always very diligent about going yearly for my mammograms but my husband had passed away and I didn’t give it thought. I kept getting letters, “You’re due for your next mammogram.” Okay, yeah. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to go for it, my priorities were elsewhere. It went into four years that I didn’t go. When Kris was diagnosed, we were devastated. It took us all by complete surprise, and that was when I thought, I’d better go. I didn’t have any issues – there were no signs of any concerns. I did go, and I did get a letter stating that there is an issue. I can honestly say I wasn’t affected by it as much because I was so focused on Kris. It took the focus off of me having it, which helped me (not that I’m happy that she had it). That was 3 weeks after her. I’ll never forget. I got the call at around 8 in the morning. I answered the phone and they said “Yes, it is cancerous.” I got off the phone and didn’t say anything. My son-in-law said “Who is that?” Uh-oh, he caught me, I thought, so I told him. And he said, “Why didn’t you tell us that you went?” and I said, “Because you’ve got enough on your plate, and I didn’t want you to have to worry about me when you need to concentrate on Kris.” And that’s how it started. I was there for her, and she was there for me. She bounced back so quickly. We had each other to lean on for support and it was great.
Kristina: To be able to go to this race and see a sea of pink survivors, it’s incredible. What we take from it is gratitude.
Judy: Women sometimes have the misconception when they hear ‘breast cancer’ that it’s death.
Kristina: It does make you stronger, no doubt. Not only physically, but emotionally. It’s still hard. It’s hard to talk about but I think it’s important to do that for awareness. I don’t understand why I got this, but for whatever reason I did. For now, I want to be able to get the message out there for other women because if me speaking helps one person, it’s so worth it. To be able to go to this race and see a sea of pink survivors, it’s incredible. What we take from it is gratitude. I signed up for the race after diagnosis because of what we went through. We do it every year with our family. It’s a really special time to do this as a family.
Judy: Women sometimes have the misconception when they hear ‘breast cancer’ that it’s death. But it isn’t. There are so many treatments, plans and doctors that know so much more about it. It just goes to show you that you don’t realize how many women have been affected by this, and when I see all this pink – women wearing their survivor shirts – I just can’t help it. I stare. It wakes you up, it’s a rude awakening. I feel very lucky and fortunate that I can attend the race as a survivor where I know there’s a lot of women who are not as fortunate – it’s more like an honor, really.
Kristina: You just feel blessed. You take so many things for granted every day – the gift of life is the most taken-for-granted, as well as the gift of good health.