46 episodes

Breast Cancer Stories is about what happens when you have breast cancer, told in real time. Whether you’ve just been diagnosed with breast cancer or love someone who has, this podcast is here to help you through the shock of diagnosis and treatment.

The first season of Breast Cancer Stories follows Kristen Vengler, a 56 year old single empty nester in San Diego, from her diagnosis of hormone positive breast cancer through chemotherapy, double mastectomy & breast reconstruction, radiation, and whatever happens after that. In 2020, Kristen moved from Austin to San Diego to start her life over after a life-shattering workplace trauma. A few months later she had that terrifying moment in the shower we all hope we never have.

The second season follows Natasha Curry, a palliative care nurse practitioner at San Francisco General Hospital, throughout her experience of going from being a nurse to a patient after being diagnosed with breast cancer. Like Kristen, Natasha was working to overcome a massively traumatic event at the time of her diagnosis. Natasha was in Malawi on a Doctors Without Borders mission in 2021 when her husband of 25 years announced in a text message that he was leaving. She returned home, fell into bed for a few weeks, and eventually with the help of her friends she pulled herself together and went back to work.

A few months later when she discovered an almond-sized lump in her armpit, she did everything she tells her patients not to do and dismissed it, or wrote it off as a “fat lump." Months went by before Natasha finally got a mammogram, but radiology saw nothing in either breast. It was the armpit lump that caught their attention. Next step was an ultrasound, where the lump was clearly visible. One painful biopsy later, Natasha found out she had cancer; in one life-changing moment, the nurse became the patient.

Breast Cancer Stories The Axis

    • Health & Fitness
    • 4.9 • 28 Ratings

Breast Cancer Stories is about what happens when you have breast cancer, told in real time. Whether you’ve just been diagnosed with breast cancer or love someone who has, this podcast is here to help you through the shock of diagnosis and treatment.

The first season of Breast Cancer Stories follows Kristen Vengler, a 56 year old single empty nester in San Diego, from her diagnosis of hormone positive breast cancer through chemotherapy, double mastectomy & breast reconstruction, radiation, and whatever happens after that. In 2020, Kristen moved from Austin to San Diego to start her life over after a life-shattering workplace trauma. A few months later she had that terrifying moment in the shower we all hope we never have.

The second season follows Natasha Curry, a palliative care nurse practitioner at San Francisco General Hospital, throughout her experience of going from being a nurse to a patient after being diagnosed with breast cancer. Like Kristen, Natasha was working to overcome a massively traumatic event at the time of her diagnosis. Natasha was in Malawi on a Doctors Without Borders mission in 2021 when her husband of 25 years announced in a text message that he was leaving. She returned home, fell into bed for a few weeks, and eventually with the help of her friends she pulled herself together and went back to work.

A few months later when she discovered an almond-sized lump in her armpit, she did everything she tells her patients not to do and dismissed it, or wrote it off as a “fat lump." Months went by before Natasha finally got a mammogram, but radiology saw nothing in either breast. It was the armpit lump that caught their attention. Next step was an ultrasound, where the lump was clearly visible. One painful biopsy later, Natasha found out she had cancer; in one life-changing moment, the nurse became the patient.

    Recurrence: Natasha’s Nonstop Obsession

    Recurrence: Natasha’s Nonstop Obsession

    About to turn 60, Natasha is in a dark place thinking of other things that can go wrong with her health if she’ll have to go it alone. Even though a routine MRI is clear, she obsesses about cancer spreading to other areas that aren’t being checked.

    Following her mother’s recent lung cancer diagnosis, Natasha worries more for her than she did for herself. Staying close to her, she plans to visit and help her navigate the impossible decisions that come with having cancer.

    Support the Breast Cancer Stories podcast


    Subscribe to our newsletter here: https://breastcancerstories.substack.com/subscribe

    About Breast Cancer Stories

    Breast Cancer Stories follows Natasha Curry, a palliative care nurse practitioner at San Francisco General Hospital, through her experience of going from being a nurse to a patient after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

    Natasha was in Malawi on a Doctors Without Borders mission in 2021 when her husband of 25 years announced in a text message that he was leaving. She returned home, fell into bed for a few weeks, and eventually pulled herself together and went back to work. A few months later when she discovered an almond-sized lump in her armpit, she did everything she tells her patients not to do and dismissed it, or wrote it off as a “fat lump."

    Months went by before Natasha finally got a mammogram, but radiology saw nothing in either breast. It was the armpit lump that caught their attention. Next step was an ultrasound, where the lump was clearly visible. One painful biopsy later, Natasha found out she had cancer; in one life-changing moment, the nurse became the patient.

    This podcast is about what happens when you have breast cancer, told in real time.

    Host and Executive Producer: Eva Sheie
    Co-Host: Kristen Vengler
    Editor and Audio Engineer: Daniel Croeser
    Theme Music: Them Highs and Lows, Bird of Figment
    Production Assistant: Mary Ellen Clarkson
    Cover Art Designer: Shawn Hiatt
    Assistant Producer: Hannah Burkhart

    Breast Cancer Stories is a production of The Axis.

    PROUDLY MADE IN AUSTIN, TEXAS

    • 27 min
    Alicia’s DIEP Flap Reconstruction [Part 2 - After Surgery]

    Alicia’s DIEP Flap Reconstruction [Part 2 - After Surgery]

    5 months after her DIEP flap reconstruction surgery, Alicia returns with an update. Although the original plan was to do a DIEP flap on both sides, it didn’t turn out that way and she still has an expander on the other side.

    Still unsure what to do next, Alicia is taking her time to decide. If she had known things would go the way they did, she believes she would’ve just stayed flat.

    Support the Breast Cancer Stories podcast


    Subscribe to our newsletter here: https://breastcancerstories.substack.com/subscribe

    About Breast Cancer Stories

    This podcast is about what happens when you have breast cancer, told in real time.

    Host and Executive Producer: Eva Sheie
    Co-Host: Kristen Vengler
    Editor and Audio Engineer: Daniel Croeser
    Theme Music: Them Highs and Lows, Bird of Figment
    Production Assistant: Mary Ellen Clarkson
    Cover Art Designer: Shawn Hiatt
    Assistant Producer: Hannah Burkhart

    Breast Cancer Stories is a production of The Axis.

    PROUDLY MADE IN AUSTIN, TEXAS

    • 34 min
    Alicia’s DIEP Flap Reconstruction [Part 1 - Before Surgery]

    Alicia’s DIEP Flap Reconstruction [Part 1 - Before Surgery]

    With the BRCA mutation and a family history of breast cancer, the “clock” started ticking for Alicia with biannual screenings at age 30. She tried to keep up with the screening schedule, but had young children and decided to go to nursing school. Nine uneventful years went by until she was diagnosed with Stage 2 HER2 negative hormone positive breast cancer in March of 2021.

    Although her mastectomy was over two years ago, Alicia’s reconstruction had to wait because of the extreme damage done to her breast tissue by radiation. Her surgeon recommended the DIEP flap reconstruction, in which tissue and vasculature are taken from the stomach and reconnected into muscles under the breast.

    Days before Alicia’s DIEP flap reconstruction surgery and 5 night hospital stay, she has her fair share of fears, but is hopeful that the outcome will be better than what she’s going through now.


    About Breast Cancer Stories

    Breast Cancer Stories is about what happens when you have breast cancer, told in real time. Whether you’ve just been diagnosed with breast cancer or love someone who has, this podcast is here to help you through the shock of diagnosis and treatment.

    Host and Executive Producer: Eva Sheie
    Co-Host: Kristen Vengler
    Editor and Audio Engineer: Daniel Croeser
    Theme Music: Them Highs and Lows, Bird of Figment
    Production Assistant: Mary Ellen Clarkson
    Cover Art Designer: Shawn Hiatt
    Assistant Producer: Hannah Burkhart

    Breast Cancer Stories is a production of The Axis.

    PROUDLY MADE IN AUSTIN, TEXAS

    • 26 min
    Natasha Update: Out, Dang Port!

    Natasha Update: Out, Dang Port!

    Natasha’s port is out and is huge, resembling a miniature computer mouse. She still believes getting a port was the best decision she’s ever made and now that it’s gone, she can wear her old clothes again.

    While she enjoys living alone and is back at work five days a week, advice from her oncologist has her rethinking her relationship with alcohol.

    Fatigue sometimes holds her back, but she still makes the most of life knowing she’s not getting any younger and recurrence will happen someday. On a whim, she decides to take a trip to Saudi Arabia.

    Support the Breast Cancer Stories podcast
    https://www.breastcancerstoriespodcast.com/donate

    Subscribe to our newsletter here: https://breastcancerstories.substack.com/subscribe

    About Breast Cancer Stories

    Breast Cancer Stories follows Natasha Curry, a palliative care nurse practitioner at San Francisco General Hospital, through her experience of going from being a nurse to a patient after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

    Natasha was in Malawi on a Doctors Without Borders mission in 2021 when her husband of 25 years announced in a text message that he was leaving. She returned home, fell into bed for a few weeks, and eventually pulled herself together and went back to work. A few months later when she discovered an almond-sized lump in her armpit, she did everything she tells her patients not to do and dismissed it, or wrote it off as a “fat lump."

    Months went by before Natasha finally got a mammogram, but radiology saw nothing in either breast. It was the armpit lump that caught their attention. Next step was an ultrasound, where the lump was clearly visible. One painful biopsy later, Natasha found out she had cancer; in one life-changing moment, the nurse became the patient.

    This podcast is about what happens when you have breast cancer, told in real time.

    Host and Executive Producer: Eva Sheie
    Co-Host: Kristen Vengler
    Editor and Audio Engineer: Daniel Croeser
    Theme Music: Them Highs and Lows, Bird of Figment
    Production Assistant: Mary Ellen Clarkson
    Cover Art Designer: Shawn Hiatt
    Assistant Producer: Hannah Burkhart
    Breast Cancer Stories is a production of The Axis.

    PROUDLY MADE IN AUSTIN, TEXAS

    • 30 min
    Defeating Stage 3 Breast Cancer: Kristen Vengler’s Courageous Battle on Cancer U Thrivers with Andrea Wilson Woods

    Defeating Stage 3 Breast Cancer: Kristen Vengler’s Courageous Battle on Cancer U Thrivers with Andrea Wilson Woods

    In this episode of Cancer U Thrivers, hear Kristen’s interview with author, speaker, entrepreneur, and patient advocate Andrea Wilson Woods on her podcast Cancer U Thrivers.

    Kristen walks Andrea and her audience through her experience with stage 3 breast cancer, from finding her tumor in the shower, to chemo, her mastectomy and reconstruction, to radiation and beyond.

    Listen to more episodes of Cancer U Thrivers
    https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/cancer-u-thrivers

    Support the Breast Cancer Stories podcast
    https://www.breastcancerstoriespodcast.com/donate

    Subscribe to our newsletter here: https://breastcancerstories.substack.com/subscribe

    About Breast Cancer Stories

    Breast Cancer Stories follows Natasha Curry, a palliative care nurse practitioner at San Francisco General Hospital, through her experience of going from being a nurse to a patient after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

    Natasha was in Malawi on a Doctors Without Borders mission in 2021 when her husband of 25 years announced in a text message that he was leaving. She returned home, fell into bed for a few weeks, and eventually pulled herself together and went back to work. A few months later when she discovered an almond-sized lump in her armpit, she did everything she tells her patients not to do and dismissed it, or wrote it off as a “fat lump."

    Months went by before Natasha finally got a mammogram, but radiology saw nothing in either breast. It was the armpit lump that caught their attention. Next step was an ultrasound, where the lump was clearly visible. One painful biopsy later, Natasha found out she had cancer; in one life-changing moment, the nurse became the patient.

    This podcast is about what happens when you have breast cancer, told in real time.
    Host and Executive Producer: Eva Sheie
    Co-Host: Kristen Vengler
    Editor and Audio Engineer: Daniel Croeser
    Theme Music: Them Highs and Lows, Bird of Figment
    Production Assistant: Mary Ellen Clarkson
    Cover Art Designer: Shawn Hiatt
    Assistant Producer: Hannah Burkhart

    Breast Cancer Stories is a production of The Axis.
    PROUDLY MADE IN AUSTIN, TEXAS

    • 41 min
    Kristen Update: The Last of the Post-Treatment Horrors and Indignities (We Hope)

    Kristen Update: The Last of the Post-Treatment Horrors and Indignities (We Hope)

    After a hard fall, Kristen breaks several ribs and at a scan to check for a ruptured implant, the radiologist sees a Skittle-sized spot near her breast implant just in time for the two year anniversary of her diagnosis.

    On the heels of a brand new set of post-treatment horrors and indignities, Kristen returns to share the good, the bad, and the ugly, including why she moved *again* and how she ended up willingly living with roommates at the age of 58.

    Support the Breast Cancer Stories podcast: https://www.breastcancerstoriespodcast.com/p/donate/
    Subscribe to our newsletter here: https://breastcancerstories.substack.com/subscribe

    This podcast is about what happens when you have breast cancer, told in real time.

    Host and Executive Producer: Eva Sheie
    Co-Host: Kristen Vengler
    Editor and Audio Engineer: Daniel Croeser
    Theme Music: Them Highs and Lows, Bird of Figment
    Story Editor: Mary Ellen Clarkson
    Assistant Producer: Hannah Burkhart
    Cover Art Designer: Shawn Hiatt

    Breast Cancer Stories is a production of The Axis.
    PROUDLY MADE IN AUSTIN, TEXAS

    • 33 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
28 Ratings

28 Ratings

italia757 ,

My hero

I’ve been so incredibly inspired my Kristen’s story. I currently have breast cancer and this was the first podcast I had listened to after I found out and it’s helped me in SO MANY WAYS. Thank you for doing this podcast. I am forever her biggest fan.

Sasha-SF ,

Best out there…

A treasure trove of thoughtful and insightful information, for those of us going through this, partners, caregivers, friends…blended with stories from two delightful women who feel like friends within just a few episodes. Highly recommended.

loveandlight333 ,

Beautifully Open and Honest

Anytime you need to talk, we are listening Kristen! Thank you for letting us follow your journey!

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