By Blythe Bernhard, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
May 5, 2014 6 a.m.
ST. LOUIS — As a vegetarian and daily yoga practitioner, Amy Johnson thought she was healthy before she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in August. Now she consumes 50 pounds of carrots, 25 pounds of Granny Smith apples and 14 heads of romaine lettuce each week to keep it from coming back.
Pink ruled Sunday evening at a fundraiser for the Kearney Breast Care Center at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center.
The fourth annual Pink Power event included an evening of private shopping, food and drink, and prizes. And by the end of the evening, almost enough money had been raised to purchase an important new piece of mammography equipment.
Krista Colvin slowly wakes from surgery. She slips in and out of consciousness. In this dreamy state, she thinks more about when she’ll get to see her family than about the fact that she no longer has breasts. She had time to work through the impending physical loss in the months leading to her mastectomy.
Krista, 43, was diagnosed in March with cancer. Now surgeons have removed her right breast, which had two tumors, as well as cancerous lymph nodes. Because Krista carries a gene mutation that increases the chance of cancer recurring, her healthy breast was removed, too.
The evening before Krista Colvin undergoes surgery to remove her breasts, her children say goodbye.
Both Annie, 8, and Wes, 10, are heading to friends’ houses for the night because Krista has to report to the hospital first thing in the morning. Annie smiles big, trying to stay strong and upbeat, but her eyes shine with tears as she lays her hand on her mother’s breast. Wes closes his eyes and snuggles into his mother’s bosom. This is the children’s way of bidding farewell to a part of her body that had nurtured and comforted them throughout their lives.
Krista Colvin taps away on her netbook as drugs drip into her body through a port in her chest.
An organizer by profession, Colvin doesn’t let breast cancer keep her from using her time well. She takes charge of the four hours she spends each week in chemotherapy.
Krista Colvin’s children barge in as she emerges from a soak in the bathtub. As she covers herself with a towel, she feels something in her right breast.
After she shoos her kids out, she probes the spot with her fingers. A lump. Part of it feels hard, like the tip of a baby carrot. Pushing on it makes her stomach queasy because she knows something’s wrong.