“It’s a whole long boob story…”

This is the phrase I find myself uttering often. A dear friend, a colleague, or the lady at the makeup counter at Macy’s have found themselves in a conversation about my boobs. It doesn’t always start that way: a simple “how are you?” is a tricky question to answer these days. So by the time I’ve said “oh just killin’ this cancer” I can see their well meaning eyes start to cross. They completely glaze over as I’m detailing my fertility treatments (aka The Great Harvest of 2014), and before you know it, I’m drawing lines around my boobs with my fingers describing my future scars like a pectoral Picasso.

So sometimes I bail. “Oh, it’s a whole long boob story…”. Because it is. On September 24, 2014 at age 30, I was diagnosed with stage 2B ductal carcinoma: in-situ and invasive. Fancy words for breast cancer. Now as far as cancer goes, I have the Cadillac of tumors. It’s slow growing, highly treatable and not really interested in spreading. My doctor calls it an “old lady cancer.” I always knew I was ahead of my time! Picture a lump sitting in a BarcaLounger eating Cheetos and enjoying the warm, cozy studio apartment I’ve been providing for it on Left Breast Lane. No one would want to leave that, am I right? Well, sorry buddy.  I’m the landlord from hell and it’s eviction time.

Which brings me to chemo. Let me be clear when I tell you I did NOT want to do chemo. I begged, coaxed and flirted with every doctor I have in an attempt to avoid this. There were vanity reasons, of course. I’m a Leo and we lions love our hair. But there are fertility reasons too. Chemo is basically an indiscriminate A-bomb that gets dropped in your body, nuking everything in its path, but I’ve got some eggs in there that I wasn’t quite ready to cook. So I put a couple of those suckers on ice (see aforementioned Great Harvest) as a back up plan. Ok, check! Now back to being vain!

There are many unknowns in chemo treatment. The side effects are gnarly but it wasn’t guaranteed that I would experience all of them. Except one. Hair loss. I’m an actress. I make my living with my appearance to some degree. So being confronted with the idea of my whole body changing has been a tough one. Oh, and for the record, telling me how beautiful Natalie Portman looked with a shaved head or sending me pics of a waify Anne Hathaway is not helping. They do not have cancer. They do not have the nausea, bone pain or paralysis. They are not struggling to feel like themselves at every moment of the day. They just look really good with a buzz cut.

Which leads me to the blog! I desire to feel as great as I can during this time. I still want to be sexy, to take risks, to challenge what even I view as beautiful. So I’m pulling out all the stops. This is not time to bust out a beanie and hide. I’m going to try to live as loudly as I can. Cancer is not just an old person’s game anymore. There are many young, vibrant and fashion loving women out there who want to look their best, even when we’re feeling like crap. On this blog, I’m going to share my beauty tips, fashion ideas and diet changes that have altered my life drastically. And I want your help. If you have ever been affected by cancer, tell me your tips! If you’re just interested in my journey, send a hello or a word of encouragement! But most of all, enjoy! 2015 is my year with cancer. Might as well make it a beautiful one!

205 thoughts on ““It’s a whole long boob story…”

  1. YES!! “I’m going to live as loudly as I can.” YES!!
    In the few times that I’ve entertained the thought of ever being diagnosed with cancer (Do other people do this, too? Imagine their approach to different scenarios?), I’d imagine myself embracing it. “This is who I am for now” and it thrills me to see you taking this approach. Does it suck? Yes. But it’s the reality of where you are so why not live it out loud?
    (Fan background – I saw you in First Date, met you at Stage Door and chatted about people taking flash-photography and blinding you ha) Go get 2015!!

    1. I think this site is great! The Year of 2013 was my Breast Cancer Year. I was completely confused and upset, since I was 38 yrs. old, but once I made the decision on my treatment, I embraced it and had a good time with it. Sounds funny, I know. But my friends and I had a party for everything! I may not be a star on Broadway, but I openly admit, that I am very vain, and I found out, especially about my hair. Once it started falling out, and I couldn’t hide it anymore, we had a shaving party! It was awesome! We went out dancing to say bye to my boobs (which, I now have perky ones – thank you), and after my last chemo (and a few times during – though I am a bad patient, do not listen to me) we had margarita Monday. Fabulous idea about your eggs. I did have my ovaries removed, but we have all the children we had planned for, but it still was an unexpected solution to a problem that needed solving. If I was able to do this, I know anyone can do this. Sure it had its hard moments, but it would be a total dishonor to all those who made this ride a lot easier if I didn’t say, we had a lot of good times. By the way, our next party, is when I get my nipple tattoos.

  2. This is really amazing! My mom had breast cancer, and watching her go through it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. We got lots of mani/pedis to remind her she was still beautiful, and spent a ton of time trying all sorts of wigs! Best of luck with everything, and I’ll be following along on your journey!

  3. What a great idea to blog about such a challenging time! Having had 2 friends who had cancer this last year, it is a rough journey but not impossible. I was talking to a friend the other night who has a brain tumor (yikes, right?) and she was talking about all the things she understands now about life that she didn’t then. While I haven’t had cancer, I have a rare auto-immune disease, and I would say the same thing. Like you mentioned, it challenges your identity. Who will I be when I lose my hair? Who will I be after this experience? These are good meaty questions. Good thoughts your way. I hope you find all sorts of wisdom (and health and healing) during this challenging time.

  4. I have always admired your amazing talent and radiant good looks! I will be cheering for you! I think you have the right attitude about it all 100% and I think that will make a huge difference all around. My best friend had (hear that? HAD) cancer and she didn’t take any shit and kicked cancer’s ass. Just like you will.
    Please know that people out there that you have met once (outside First Date stage door) are sending positive vibes your way!!!! Subscribed to Chemocouture and loving it already!

  5. Been there, done that. It’s a crappy year of your life but then you’re good. Thanks for speaking out for all the younger women who say it can’t happen to them. Hope it’s a wake up call. I always say if you find it early your prognosis is good and if your prognosis is good you can stand the treatment. Hang in there!

  6. Hi Krysta,

    Thank you for sharing about your experiences with breast cancer. You are gorgeous and so talented (I loved you in Smash and First Date and on the Addams Family Musical cast recording!), and I love how your grace and sense of humor come through even when talking about such an extremely difficult and personal topic. You’ll be in my thoughts and prayers as you undergo treatment, and I hope your family and your many friends and fans out there will be a source of support and encouragement to you as well.

    ~Nicole

  7. Hey Krysta,
    Wow! I have been a fan of yours for little while now and I’m an aspiring actress. Not only are you a fantastic actress, but an inspiring women. I didn’t realize you had been diagnosed and I think its so great that you’ve started this blog. Its great that when I’m dealing with teenager troubles, I can look and see how you’re pushing through this. Thank you for having a great perspective and keep it up. I wish you the best and will definitely being following the blog. Thanks again.
    -Lindsay

  8. Hi, Krysta! I have always been a huge fan of yours and have always seen you as an inspiration. Now, I see you as more of an inspiration. Thank you so much for being open about your journey and for taking it head on. The respect I have for you is out of this world. So many people want to hide their cancer, and I think it is so beautiful that you are embracing it and living with it. I can’t wait to follow you on this journey.

  9. Krysta,
    You have been my musical theatre icon since A Chorus Line! (Yes, I have followed you for that long.) Our range is pretty much the same, and I completely admire how you have handled yourself in this CRIZAZY business so many of us have willingly decided to embark in. I just wanted to come by and thank you for being so vocal about this and being an amazing role model for so many young people out there. Nobody (sadly) is immune to stupid cancer, but everyone has the ability to do everything in their internal power to kick its boo-tay! I have a (unfortunate) long line of breast cancer in my family, and I am honestly afraid every day to even do anything that may tell me that I am next. I am only 22 and this fear is starting to control me. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for making this blog and allowing people and girls like me to express our gratitude of you! I know I am not your only fan out there, but I am a pretty big one. So thank you! Thank you for everything you have done. Keep that positive attitude and kick this things ass!

    Yours truly,
    Becca

    1. I had the frotune of working for the breast cancer division after college. I am praying for you ..I am a man and we need to talk more about this, why are more of our women are coming down with this?

  10. Hi Krysta!

    What an amazing thing you are doing. I have followed you for years and really appreciate you as a person and artist! You have inspired me on many occasions and I thank you for that! I will continue to follow you on your new site! As an Surgical oncology Registered Nurse, the journey is rough and tough. Remember to surround yourself with love and have a positive attitude (which I’m sure you already have)! Sending you positive vibes and a big hug! I look forward to your ongoing and future projects!

    Alex

  11. Hey Krysta!

    Just dropping you a line saying I know you’ll get through this and that you’re such an inspiration to actors like me around the nation. Thank you for being an artist, a fighter and just totally rad.

  12. Hi Krysta! I’m a current musical theatre student and a huge fan of yours and I’m so sad to hear about this, but so glad that you have such a positive outlook on it! You are an inspiration to women everywhere, and I look forward to hearing about your journey and hopefully a quick recovery. Sending lots of love! 🙂

  13. Cancer is tough. I’ve been through thyroid cancer myself, and my mom has had cancer three times. I was there for all of her chemo treatments during her last bout with cancer, lending her support and love as she took on each day of treatment.

    I also crochet hats for an organization called Halos of Hope, which collects handmade hats (knit, crocheted, sewn) and distributes them to cancer centers and oncologists offices across the country. I’d love to make a couple hats in your favorite colors and send them along to you. Contact me at xnedra at gmail dot com if you are interested.

  14. I think it is great that you are taking this with the attitude you are..you are going to be an inspiration to many women who need a positive outlook on this. I had stage 4 cervical cancer invasive when I was 30 I am now 43. When I was diagnosed I unfortunately was not as positive I had just had my second child and I was diagnosed while pregnant with him, I had to have a complete hysterectomy to hopefully remove all cancer cells from my body. I was in the middle of a divorce a new mom and all I could think about was what if it doesn’t work? After the surgery my doctor said he had gotten all the cancer cells from my body and that I would not need Chemo. I am a survivor and even though I didn’t have to do Chemo I have had close friends with breast cancer who have and Ive seen first hand how hard it is on someone…so I will pray for swift healing and again just wanted to let you know im proud that you are sharing your experience and hopefully you will be an inspiration to all women who are suffering from breast cancer and help improve their thought process on this experience in their lives. I loved you on Smash and I think this experience will only make you stronger as a human being but also as an actress. God Bless.

  15. Krysta, thank you for being so brave and sharing your story with the world. You’re going to beat this. I’ve seen the passion and strength with which you perform with, so I know you will get through this and come out stronger than ever. Sending some beautiful, healing energy your way!

  16. I’m sending you all my love and support, Krysta. You’re such an inspiration, and your positive outlook is really incredible. This blog is an incredible idea, and I will be following along on your journey, and I wish you the absolute best. You’re an insanely talented and loving lady, and I know that what you’re doing here will help so many. My family’s been affected by cancer countless times (skin, breast, stomach, and ovarian), and we know how difficult it is, and we’re all keeping you in our thoughts and prayers! Here’s to a speedy recovery, and to a beautiful year! Love you dearly!
    Payton Chapley
    Age 18
    Toronto, Canada

  17. I heard those words “you have breast cancer” in 2004. Final diagnosis was Stage 2, EXTREMELY aggressive (9/10), ER+ (95%), PR+, DCIS. After a lumpectomy, 16 weeks of chemo and 2 months of radiation, I can now say these words “I am a 10 year Survivor of breast cancer”. I have no doubt you will say those words, as well.
    During my chemo, I wore colorful wigs (pink, purple, blue, etc) and a tiara that said “Goddess”. I made the chemo nurses wear tiaras that said “Angel”. (Chemo nurses ARE angels). The support I received from friends and family was the key to my physical and mental survival. I also purchased wigs (for work) from Barry Hendrickson’s Bitz N Pieces on Bway by Columbus Circle. Their wigs are so good, when I finally removed mine and went to work with my “fuzz”, people thought I had actually cut my hair. Be prepared for your hair texture to change for the next 2 years or so. It will most likely be curlier at the root. I had some fun with that once it grew in. My only other piece of advice for you is to be kind to yourself and let others help you. I wanted to prove I could do everything I did before and it just left me exhausted. People will offer to help while you’re in treatment. Take them up on their offers. However, once treatment is over, people will think you are suddenly back to your pre diagnosis self. But the truth is, your body needs time to heal after each treatment and it will take 6 months or more after you finish chemo before you start feeling like yourself. So if you need help, ask. Your friends and family will, no doubt, be willing to help if you just tell them what you need. Sending love, light and healing on your journey. I have every confidence it will be successful. xoxo

    1. Amen to the advice for you to LET the people who love you help!
      Right on with your take NO prisoners approach!
      The fight back is what keeps WE SURVIVORS STRONG!
      stage 2 Her2+ breast cancer last year. Chemo, radiation, Herceptin. REMISSION!
      You are a beautiful, spirited soul and you will find the crazy trip to be the best learning experience of your life.
      Keep surrounding yourself with only good, positive, loving people, and they will carry you through.
      BEST of luck and HEALING!!!!

  18. Hi Krysta!

    I have to get it out of the way that I have been a huge fan of yours ever since I saw you play Vanessa in ITH, you were my favorite. I also loved you in Addams Family and of course Smash! So although I don’t know you personally, it still breaks my heart to hear this prognosis.

    I don’t think you should for a second apologize for being vain! And I think you should thank your lucky stars that you’re ten times more gorgeous than Anne Hathaway or Natalie Portman so I think if anyone could come out from this and remain beautiful, you could!! And while hair loss is absolutely dreadful, it was what my father hated the most when going through chemo, I’m glad you’re doing it and making the best choices to get better.

    I wish you so much luck and love this idea for a blog