My name is Kirsten French, and in May of 2021, I was diagnosed with Stage IV Colon Cancer. I was 32 years old, had no family history, and had no previous health concerns.
The news was devastating and felt life-shattering. Beyond my Grandparents, who were diagnosed in their 70’s and later passed away, I didn’t know anyone with cancer or anything about the journey I was about to go on.
In the months leading up to my diagnosis, my wife and I were actively trying to grow our family, and along with fertility treatments, my wife was working with Dr. A at Landers Chiropractic and Dr. Cortez-Sammons at Transformational Health and Wellness.
In sharing my recent news, I was referred to connect with Ghesi Stojanov and her nonprofit Pinkies Up for Wellness. I had an amazing experience with Pinkies, and I am so thankful for the support I was given during my journey.
With so many medical appointments, new terminology, medicines, and unsolicited advice from well-intending people, it was such a relief to connect with another cancer survivor. Someone who had been there and truly understood what I was going through.
When you are newly navigating a diagnosis like cancer, everything feels so overwhelming and scary. With so much conflicting information on the internet, it was hard to know what I could do beyond chemo and how I could safely support my healing.
Pinkies supported me with Juice Plus, which was an amazing addition to my diet because during chemo, it was very challenging to eat enough fruits and vegetables. Kangen Water was also delivered to my door weekly to help support my body, along with emotional support and consistent check-ins from Ghesi.
These services were complementary for me while I went through my seven months of chemo.
I truly appreciated the genuine connection with Ghesi, and her words of encouragement were so helpful to me. On some really hard days, I would go back and reread her messages for the reassurance I needed – that I could do this!
Because I am a warrior!
I was able to express my fears, how challenging some of my side effects felt, and the grief I was feeling- Ghesi made me feel heard and understood.
I am so excited to share that since December of 2021, the same week my daughter was born, my scans revealed I am currently NED (no evidence of disease).
Looking back at my first year from diagnosis to my current state of maintenance chemo, I have had so many reflection moments about who I was before cancer and who I am now.
There are times that I miss my life before cancer, but I spend a lot of time focusing on the present. I practice gratitude for waking up in the morning, and I make sure to have quality time with my wife & daughter. I also take time to enjoy the simple things. Like the sunset. The sound of the waves. And being able to excel in my career with new boundaries that I’ve put in place that allow for balance and keep my health a priority.
I try to look for the silver lining in everything, and while I would not wish cancer upon anyone, it has given me a few gifts.
I have been able to take away a greater appreciation for the smallest moments (the ones I might have missed if I wasn’t forced to slow down). I have gained confidence in who I am and what I stand for, and I am learning to give myself grace through the range of emotions this experience brings me every day.
This will be a battle I will fight every day for the rest of my life, but I am so thankful for the support Pinkies Up For Wellness gave me when I needed it most.
Mother to Adelaide and Wife to Jennifer French, Kirsten is a stage 4 Bowel Cancer Thriver who is in remission and a Pinkies Up for Wellness Sponsor.