It Took Breast Cancer for Me to get Tattoos

By Kristen Knott

Written May 23, 2015

She begins. I scrunch my eyes and hold my breath, fighting through the first couple of minutes, adjusting to the sensation of the needle piercing my skin. Gradually, I start to let my body relax. The pain is not as intense as I thought it would be. It helps that Kyla moves from my left boob to the right, instead of remaining in one spot, which keeps my mind distracted and spreads the discomfort. I flinch as she injects into a tender area right near my left scar. I close my eyes and concentrate on breathing in order to get through it. She asks me if the pain is too intense. I tell her it hurts a lot but I’m ok.

“Please continue,” I say. So she does.

“There! Go take a look.” Kyla Gutsche instructs. She is the Pied Piper of cosmetic tattooing. We are in her office, which is housed in a traditional medical building in the heart of Peterborough of all places. I sought Kyla’s services booking a year and a half ago to make sure I was in her queue. After my mastectomies I yearned to see the same familiar sight, the one [...] continue the story

Chemically Induced Shavasana & My Last Round of Chemo

By Kristen Knott

Written @ 4:45 am November 21, 2013

It is November 21 at 4:45 am. I am lying in bed staring at the ceiling.  I have already been up twice tonight with hot flashes and visits to the washroom. My mind is racing. It is my last chemo treatment today at Juravinski.

I thought this day would bring joy and excitement, yet the emotion I feel is complex, a mixture of relief but also sadness.  I have been through a lot since June and I have put on a brave face and created a inner calm and have locked onto a positive energy to keep moving forward during each step — the surgery and round after round of chemo.

Yesterday I drove to Juravinski to get blood work done to allow my oncologist to give me the green light for chemo today. I chose to go alone, as the whole process seemed so routine and almost mechanical. No problem! I arrived at the blood clinic and was handed the number 06 which I immediately misinterpreted for 90. Chemo brain very intense this week. The number board was calling 68. The room was packed again with many seniors, family members but also some [...] continue the story

Frustration

By Kristen Knott

Written @ 1:30pm November 12, 2013

It is very hard to remain positive at this point in my cancer treatment. I am midway through round 5 of 6 chemotherapy sessions, and I am frustrated.  I am tired of experiencing the numerous side effects of the chemo drugs and am done living in a constant merry go round of my 21 day chemo cycles. I am weary and fatigued and finding it hard to remember the endless energy I once had. Feeling normal, seems so far away, and yes, I am aware I am in the homestretch with only one more infusion to go, but this journey is far from over. I have been consumed with cancer since June, it has become a part of me, it has changed me both physically, and mentally. Ironically, I wanted the process to start, I welcomed the infusions as it meant it was killing any potential cancer I may have in my body. What I didn’t realize was how this process slowly strips you down, it makes you raw, weak, pale, sore, tender, emotional, helpless and simply frustrated.

I have to remember I chose willingly to undergo chemotherapy after my oncologist informed me of [...] continue the story

As Useless As a Tit

By Kristen Knott

Written Saturday October 19 2013 @ 11:30 pm

I now realize that I need to refrain from using the phrase “as useless as a tit.” The words seemed harmless on the occasions that I uttered the sarcastic phrase, as I believed it rang true. Outside of breast-feeding, boobs seemed to be a non-essential body part, almost a luxury from my perspective. This viewpoint was fueled by my envy to have big boobs, as boobs although useless seemed to embody feminine power.

I understand that a boob is not required to walk or pick up things or used to communicate with other humans (well that one you could argue). It is easy for people to say, ”you would never know you had a breast removed” yet the reality is I have. When I stand in front of the mirror naked, it is blatantly obvious to me that I am missing a key part of my body. Breasts are one of the first visual indicators to a female body. Like an Adams apple on a man, breasts are fundamental to the female shape

I am feeling now as if people think I am crazy for wanting to pursue reconstruction surgery, although they do [...] continue the story

My week: Pity Party, Burst of Energy, Chemo, and then Thanksgiving!

By Kristen Knott

Written Wednesday October 9 @ 11:40 pm

These past few days have felt a little like an emotional roller coaster. Monday I realized I was finally kicking a bad sinus cold that hit me hard this entire cycle. However, layer in hot flashes and hormones, from what I believe is chemo induced menopause, and you have a ‘pity party’ for one. I allowed myself to embrace the melancholy feelings. I watched a few other breast cancer patient videos from the patient commando website and I cried. I find comfort in seeing and hearing other women’s’ experiences but it is highly emotional for me. It is still very raw and fresh to me. I also read emails and texts from people who have read my patient commando posts. It made me realize how others react to my experience and that also impacted me. I was moved deeply.

Glad that after marinating in a bit of pity and blues, the next day I felt full of energy. I felt normal. I shared that day with a friend that I truly believed that in the near future historians would write about this century and refer [...] continue the story