32 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
    • 5.0 • 20 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.

    Day 79: How to Win Yourself a Trip to Urgent Care

    Day 79: How to Win Yourself a Trip to Urgent Care

    After her 3rd chemo, Natasha is too tired to eat. All food loses its flavor and only texture remains, so peaches and sushi taste the same. She becomes so dehydrated that she wins herself a trip to urgent care for fluids. Wondering if she metabolizes chemo more slowly than others, she plans to set a hydration date after the next infusion.


    She used to tell her chemo patients that they’d react to each chemo treatment the same way, but learns in yet another horrible discovery as the nurse-turned-patient that nothing could be further from the truth.


    On the bright side, her hair is so healthy from the cold caps that she needs to get a haircut, and gets a big discount for having cancer.


    Links


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


    Subscribe to our newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/hX12YD


    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


    Breast Cancer Stories is a production of The Axis.


    PROUDLY MADE IN AUSTIN, TEXAS

    • 25 min
    Day 43: Things Are Unraveling

    Day 43: Things Are Unraveling

    Natasha attempts a somewhat normal life by continuing to work and dating someone new. But behind the scenes, things are unraveling. She receives news about the alarming masses on her liver and thyroid. After her second chemo, unusual and disturbing side effects lead her to wonder how many other unexpected surprises are headed her way.


    Links


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


    Subscribe to our newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/hX12YD


    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


    Breast Cancer Stories is a production of The Axis.


    PROUDLY MADE IN AUSTIN, TEXAS

    • 32 min
    Day 20: Oh Wait, It Might Be Stage 4

    Day 20: Oh Wait, It Might Be Stage 4

    Horrific acid reflux is keeping Natasha up at night. None of the remedies recommended by her doctors make a difference, except for handy dandy marijuana. Radiology detects spots on her liver and thyroid and calls her in for an emergency MRI.


    The oncologist explains that if the liver lesions are looked at and she actually has stage four, her chemo treatment is completely wrong.


    When her doctors recommend 30 minute daily walks, Natasha adopts Pippa, who is already a light in her life as a companion blissfully unaware of her cancer.


    She feels as if she has an unfair advantage by getting the oncologist she wanted, changing her treatments, and wiggling out of a clinical trial she was pushed into.


    Links


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


    Subscribe to our newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/hX12YD


    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


    Breast Cancer Stories is a production of The Axis.


    PROUDLY MADE IN AUSTIN, TEXAS

    • 36 min
    Day 1: Chemotherapy and Cold Caps

    Day 1: Chemotherapy and Cold Caps

    On the eve of her first chemotherapy infusion, Natasha hauls a pile of new prescriptions home and questions why so much harm must be done to be “healthy” again.


    After meeting her oncologist Dr. Chen, a specialist in HER-2 positive breast cancer, the clinical trial that originally sounded promising turned out not to be a good fit, leading to a much less invasive chemo recipe consisting of Taxotere, Carboplatin, Herceptin, and Perjeta spaced three weeks apart, but thankfully no need for Taxol.


    To save her hair from falling out, Natasha’s dad graciously volunteers to cover the cost of cold caps (thanks Neil!) but the tradeoff is additional logistics, longer appointments on the chemo days, and no guarantee that it will work.


    Links


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


    Subscribe to our newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/hX12YD
    Other Links


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


    Subscribe to our newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/hX12YD


    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


    Breast Cancer Stories is a production of The Axis.


    PROUDLY MADE IN AUSTIN, TEXAS

    • 35 min
    Day 0, Part 2: The Pathologist Never Calls With Good News

    Day 0, Part 2: The Pathologist Never Calls With Good News

    As a nurse, it was easy for Natasha to think of all the things the almond-sized lump in her armpit could be other than cancer, so she moved along with her busy life. When she realized it was not going away, her doctor sent her for a mammogram.


    It took six weeks to get there and then her busy schedule delayed it again. The mammogram saw nothing in either breast, but since they could see it and feel it, they sent her for an ultrasound. When the pathologist called, she knew it was bad news before she even answered the phone.


    Links


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


    Subscribe to our newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/hX12YD


    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


    Breast Cancer Stories is a production of The Axis.


    PROUDLY MADE IN AUSTIN, TEXAS

    • 40 min
    Day 0: I Found My Own Tumor and Ignored It

    Day 0: I Found My Own Tumor and Ignored It

    While leading a Doctors Without Borders mission in Malawi, Natasha’s husband of 25 years blindsided her by ending their marriage in a text message. 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 stage 2 breast cancer; in one life-changing moment, the nurse became the patient.


    Not just any ordinary nurse practitioner, Natasha was a journalist and then a clinical psychologist before becoming a palliative care specialist at San Francisco General Hospital, where her patients are often homeless or addicted.


    Like Kristen (our host, and the subject of Season 1), Natasha discovered her tumor in the shower, it wasn’t caught by a mammogram either, and she navigated breast cancer treatment on her own. But as you’ll see, that’s about all they have in common.


    Links


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


    Subscribe to our newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/hX12YD


    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.


    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


    Breast Cancer Stories is a production of The Axis.


    PROUDLY MADE IN AUSTIN, TEXAS

    • 24 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
20 Ratings

20 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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