I Must Increase My Bust

By Kristen Knott

Written July 20, 2014

I have that childhood chant in my head “I must, I must, I must increase my bust”. I have been living that chant since my March 21 bi-lateral reconstruction surgery.

I now have two breasts, or as I refer to them…I have two misshapen balloons under my skin. They are nipple free and have extensive scarring and are much wider than the final boobs will be, but in clothes you would never know. Most people are familiar with an expanding waistline but I am living the expanding bust-line.

I have had 5 injections done at my plastic surgeons office between April and June. Each injection added another 60 cc’s of saline to the tissue expanders that are slowly stretching my scars and skin to accommodate my future final breast inserts. The saline is injected by needle through the skin to the expanders via an invisible magnetic port in each expander. I felt like I was an active participant in a science experiment every time the procedure was done.

Chatting about travel, kids or my final implant surgery my doctor used a magnet to locate the ports, and then drew dots all around the port with a pen. Then [...] continue the story

The Testing Waiting Game

By Kristen Knott

Written July 13, 2014

I am not happy. I feel it in my bones, my skin, my breath. I am rattled, unsettled and anxious. My mind races uncontrollably like a toddler taking its first steps. I want to be content and filled with all the joys and wonders of life. I have survived cancer after all and I am alive, yet I am struggling. ‘Cancer free’ does not translate to fist pumps and cheering in my mind – it does however create deep pangs of emotion.  I can’t seem to shake the shadow of cancer. Chemotherapy and surgery attacked the mutated cells, but what attacks the negative thoughts, the worry, the aches and pains?

I try hard to be appreciative and experience life as it is happening but it feels a bit tainted lately. I feel like I am on borrowed time. I want these thoughts and doubts crushed like a bug.

I am playing the ‘ testing waiting game’ again. I had a bone scan of my body and images of my left hip and upper spine on July 5. The aches in my body seem to be getting worse and after sharing this update with my oncology nurse she ordered [...] continue the story

Photo Greater Than 1000: Angelo Merendino at TEDxUSU

Originally Published on Nov 18, 2013 On September 1, 2007, I married the girl of my dreams. Five months later Jennifer was diagnosed with breast cancer. Over the next four years we faced constant change as Jennifer’s illness grew more serious. During this time, Jennifer allowed me to photograph our day-to-day life. Our hope was that these photographs would offer people a more realistic view of life with cancer. Since Jennifer passed in 2011 these photographs—our love story—have been vital to my accepting Jennifer’s death, embracing my own mortality, and finding peace within myself.

Angelo Merendino is a photographer whose photo-documentary, The Battle We Didn’t Choose — My Wife’s Fight With Breast Cancer, has received worldwide recognition. Intimate, honest, and moving, Angelo’s photographs offer viewers a look inside the day-to-day life of a young couple facing breast cancer together. More than a story about loss, this is a story about love and life.

Since his late wife Jennifer passed in 2011, Angelo has maintained a blog chronicling life before, during, and after his experience as a caregiver and now, as a 39-year-old widower. Much like his photographs, Angelo’s posts are open and raw. His hope is to encourage conversation about topics that are [...] continue the story

Genetic Testing

By Kristen Knott

Written May 21, 2014

I have an appointment today to receive my genetic testing results. It has been 3 months since I provided the necessary blood work for the testing. The Genetic Counselor at Juravinski had informed me that results would likely take about four months. We discussed my family medical history and she explained that there were two genetic strains they could currently test for and they were BRCA-1 and BRCA-2. Both genes come with a higher propensity to get other forms of cancer and can be genetically passed to children. I have been preoccupied with this appointment since I received the call for booking. Does it mean something that the results are in early?

I desperately want the results to be negative for BRCA1 and BRCA2. I would hate to have to call family today and provide them with the bad news. Then the worry would begin for both themselves and their children. I feel sick thinking about this. I am tired of surgeries and blood work, yet I have already decided if I am indeed BRCA1 or BRCA2 positive I will have my ovaries removed. I want to avoid cancer in any form ever coming back in my [...] continue the story

Fundraising as a Survivor

By Kristen Knott

Written April 24, 2014

I am thrilled to announce that Team Wonder Women, made of friends and colleagues will be walking with me at The Shoppers Drugmart Weekend to End Women’s Cancers benefiting Princess Margaret Cancer Center that will be held in Toronto September 6-7, 2014.

In August 2013 I reached out to the women in my life, and told them all that I wanted to give back and raise needed monies for local cancer research. I then proceeded to build the Wonder Women team website and my own personal donations page. I was thrilled when I surpassed my individual fundraising goal of $2000 within a few weeks. I was thrilled and genuinely moved by the people who sponsored me for this event. THANK YOU.

Team Wonder Women now has 10 walkers all who at a minimum will raise $2000 for this event so we will collectively raise at least $20 000. There are a few more friends that may join as walkers, which in turn will increase our team donations. Another friend has worked for the event and has dropped off brochure kits at local businesses to raise awareness. She is using the monies she is paid for this work [...] continue the story

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