Episode 056: Surviving Breast Cancer with Katie Leadbetter

Episode 056: Surviving Breast Cancer with Katie Leadbetter

This episode is the first in a four-part mini-series on breast cancer for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

In this Part 1 of this series, I’m joined by Katie Leadbetter, a Nutrition Consultant, fellow 21-Day Sugar Coach, and at 35-years old, a breast cancer survivor. 

You’ll hear Katie’s account of how she came to learn that at age 31, she had breast cancer. She shares EXACTLY what she went through, physically, mentally and emotionally in a very raw and vulnerable way.

Listen to the Episode: 

Mentioned In this Episode:

Connect with Katie:

Connect with Naomi:

Share the Episode:

Click Here to Read the Episode Transcript...

Naomi Nakamura: In the last episode, Episode 055, I talked about obesogens and how some of them can be xenoestrogens, which means that they mimic estrogen in the human body. Now, you may not know this, but obesogens, some of which are toxins like phthalates and parabens have been linked to breast cancer. Estrogen plays a strong role in the development and progression of breast cancers, which is why it is so, so important for both women and men to avoid using products that carry these toxins. So with October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I'm devoting this month's episodes to this topic.

Joining me today is Katie Leadbetter. Katie is a nutrition consultant, a 21-Day Sugar Detox Coach, a very good dear friend, and at 35 years old she's also a breast cancer survivor. Now, you may remember that Katie was first on the show back in April in episode 34, where she and I talked about a sleep challenge that we held on Instagram because we both struggle with sleep. But I first met Katie through the 21-Day Sugar Detox Coaches program, and last October, I first learned that she is a breast cancer survivor, and I so wanted her to come on the show at that time to share her story.

But I had already had all of the episodes planned out for the month. A year ago, I made a mental note to myself to have her on this year, and that's what you're going to hear today. Now, Katie and I originally planned for this to be a single episode. But as we started planning out what we're going to talk about, we realized that it really couldn't all be talked about in just one episode. So we've broken it out into a mini-series.

Today, you are going to hear Katie get super raw and super vulnerable, as she shares her story and exactly what she went through physically, mentally, and emotionally in a way that I've never heard before. Then over the next few episodes to come later this month, Katie will share her thoughts and advice as a breast cancer patient and survivor on how to support someone who is going through breast cancer treatment and who is struggling and facing this terrible disease. Then in another episode, she's going to speak to the patient and share how to bridge the gap between what doctors are telling you and what you can do for yourself.

We're also going to talk a little bit about pinkwashing, which is something that I didn't even know what it was. Then towards the end of the month, I'll be joined by another dear friend and colleague who will be sharing tips on what does breast cancer advocacy really mean and things we can do for it. This is someone who spent a number of years of her career doing this professionally, so she gives us some really good advice that way. So that's a preview of what's to come this month. With that, let's get to Katie's story.

Hi, Katie. Welcome back to the show.

Katie L.: Thank You. Am I ... No, I'm not your first repeat guest.

Naomi Nakamura: You aren't, but you're one of the few. We are recording this in honor of ... You know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and I remember a full year ago, you shared your story in October about being a breast cancer survivor. I think I knew that, but I didn't know a lot of the details surrounding that. I literally made a note in my notes to say, "Have Katie on the show for this next October."

Katie L.: Wow, I didn't know that.

Naomi Nakamura: Yeah, so here we are, and I just want to thank you in advance because I know this is so much a part of why you do what you do. But I also know that it's extremely personal, so I just want to thank you for coming on and being open to sharing your story of your experience going through breast cancer. When I hand it over to you, where do you want to start here?

Katie L.: I was 31 at the time, and I had just started going to school at Bauman College. I already had made a lot of lifestyle changes and was eating a pretty healthy diet.

Naomi Nakamura: I actually didn't realize that you had already started at Bauman before your diagnosis.

Katie L.: Yeah, I was about maybe six weeks in or something. We started in March, and I found my lump in April, the end of April.

Naomi Nakamura: Okay, so, just so people know. Katie, she is a schoolteacher full-time, but she also went to Bauman College, which is a holistic nutrition program. It's a University, and there's an online program, and there's an in-person program, and you did the in-person program. So, you were already on your holistic health path before you were diagnosed.

Katie L.: Yeah, people were already asking me about how to be healthier, and I was the go-to person in my friend circle.

Naomi Nakamura: How did you even get to that phase before going through this?

Katie L.: It was in 2011. Actually, my husband read The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferriss as a recommendation from a couple co-workers. It's a slow-carb diet. It's paleo, but it adds a lot more legumes, and you have a cheat day is what's the big differences when I like to break that down. He began that in January of that year. I tried it in March and failed. Then probably, again, in April and failed.

Naomi Nakamura: Well, what was life like for you where you felt like that was a fail?

Katie L.: The thing that, like I would do it the whole week, and then we'd get to cheat day, and we'd eat like crazy. Then I would try to go back to being strict on the diet again, and I just couldn't do it. It was too hard. There was leftovers in the house, and I was like, "But I don't want to waste the food."

Naomi Nakamura: Right. So, standard American diet, lots of pasta-

Katie L.: Yes.

Naomi Nakamura: Lots of soda.

Katie L.: No soda.

Naomi Nakamura: No soda.

Katie L.: I was a pretty healthy eater because I was for about eight years prior, and not exactly eight years prior to that date. But part to that, I was vegetarian for eight years, so I didn't really eat fast food. I didn't really drink soda. I did have a lot of sugar through these healthy snacks, like granolas and cereal and those kinds of things.

Naomi Nakamura: Which is common with people who follow not everybody but a lot of people who follow the vegetarian diet, right?

Katie L.: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Naomi Nakamura: There tends to be a sugar-heavy type of way of eating.

Katie L.: Yeah, and I was definitely like not the healthiest vegetarian. I did eat fish, and I ate eggs, and I ate dairy, so I think that was a better part for me because I got some protein, and I wasn't a big soy protein fan. That was from 2000-2008, I was vegetarian. Then for those three years, 2008-2011. I just ate all the things, like it was a standard American diet, but on the healthier side. I cooked at home. I didn't eat McDonald's or anything like that. But I was eating candy and lots of sugary stuff. In 2011, I did the Four-Hour Body, like I said, at least twice for a week and then couldn't get back on it when I went to go back on it.

Then I was like, "What's my barrier? My barrier is the snacks in the staff room and the snacks that I give to my kids," like that I want to eat. I was like, "I'm going to wait until summer vacation, and I won't buy any of these things and have them in the house, because if I have them in the house, I eat them. If I have them available, then I eat them." So I did it during the summer and I stuck with it. I started losing weight, feeling better, mood, skin, all of the stuff that happens when people really eat more of a whole foods-based diet.

So I did that and stuck with it for a long time, but then I started realizing that I had an issue with gluten. I would eat it on my cheat day still, and it would just be toast. I love toast. There's something about it. I would eat it on my cheat day, and I had to get a really bad heartburn. I was experiencing lots of heartburn and acid reflux since I was 15, and I just didn't know what it was from. I'm not a prescription person, so I didn't go to the doctor. I didn't ask for anything. I was like, "Just manage it. It's fine."

Then I realized, "I needed to go gluten-free." That was in 2012 when I went gluten-free and really started going more paleo than Four-Hour Body. So it was really less legumes and less cheat day kinds of things. That was where I was. I was eating a pretty paleo diet, minimal sugar, and mostly whole foods-based diet in 2014 when I found my lump. So I think that catches up to finding the lump. It was a school day. It was the day that I was working and then going to school that night, and I was commuting up to Berkeley. That's about two-hour drive in Bay Area traffic, even if I left at 3:00 PM when I could leave.

I got up that morning. Jim had already left for work, and I don't know what I was doing. I wasn't doing a self-breast exam.

Naomi Nakamura: I was going to say you were like what? 31 at that time.

Katie L.: Uh-huh (affirmative), 31.

Naomi Nakamura: I was going to say, so, were you doing regular breast exams at 31?

Katie L.: I was not doing regular exam, like as far as regular intervals. I was doing them, but I'd be like, "I don't know when the last one I did was." So it would be like maybe every three months, or I would not be consistent about it at all. I think I was checking to see if I had a rash in my armpit or something like that because I tend to have issues with some deodorants. I don't know, but I leaned to the right, moved my breast aside and was like, "What the F is that?"

Naomi Nakamura: So what did it feel like? Honestly, I've never felt what that feels like for myself, so what does that feel like?

Katie L.: I want to just give the caveat that it can be a lot of different things. So, breast cancer signs and symptoms on your breast can look a lot of different ways. It can be red spots. It can be a lot of discharge can indicate that you're having an issue. So, there's a lot of bumpy, ripply skin. All that are indicators of different types of problems. I had a lump in my duct, so it was in the duct, and it felt to me like an oblong, green grape. So, think of a very firm grape. It ended up being 2.2 centimeters once I found it.

Naomi Nakamura: So it was a distinct feeling, like you could feel-

Katie L.: Yeah, yeah. It was toward the side if you're thinking of the midline of the body. It was the distal, right side of my body. It was towards the surface of the breast, if you will. I felt it, and I was feeling around like, "Did I make that up? Did I just feel that? Where'd that come from?" It was all these questions in my head. This came overnight. That was what I thought like, "This wasn't here yesterday." It was not. That was the first thing. I do remember sinking to the floor and crying and kind of in disbelief. Sorry.

Naomi Nakamura: Not at all. So did you go on and go to school or what? I mean, that's got to be like, "How distracted were you that whole time?" Because I'm sure this is just all you can think about.

Katie L.: Yeah. I called my husband, and I told him that I found a lump. He was at work, and he's like, "Call the doctor. I'll do some research." He did the doctor googling. I did not Google at all during the diagnosis because I knew that that would be a rabbit hole that I might not get out of. He was like, "Call the doctor," which I did once I got to work, before the kids came, which was rough to be feeling those emotions and knowing the kids are coming in 10 minutes, and I need to get this appointment made and all that. So, got an appointment for the following week. He went with me, but he didn't go in with me. I went ahead with my OBGYN.

Naomi Nakamura: The following week, so you had to wait a week of not knowing what is this.

Katie L.: Yeah, and it gets worse.

Naomi Nakamura: Oh, no.

Katie L.: Yeah, so I waited. It was not quite a full week. It was like the following Monday, so like five days. But I got an appointment. She was like, "Okay, well, this feels like a fibroadenoma," which is a benign tumor that often happens in women in their 20s. It grows with your cycle, so it gets bigger every time you have a period, so it's pretty common, apparently. But I don't know that, so let's get it checked out.

Naomi Nakamura: I was going to say for her to make that assumption right off the bat, that must be super common.

Katie L.: Yeah, and she said the words ... I mean, this happened to me over and over. She said, "You're too young." But too young came up a lot. I was like, "Okay, well ... " My fears went down. It wasn't like, "Oh, no big deal," but I just was like, "Okay, I can lower the alert level." It wasn't red. It was down to orange or whatever. I had an appointment the following week again, another week, a week and a half later. I went and got an MRI. No, I take that back. I went and got an ultrasound and a mammogram. They usually do a mammogram first and then an ultrasound, but there's that concern of radiation where they don't do it in young women.

Naomi Nakamura: Had you had a mammogram before?

Katie L.: No. I was too young to have mammograms just yet, although I remember thinking I have an aunt who passed away of cancer when I was 14. My dad's family is very big, and my parents were divorced when I was little, so I wasn't super close to her. But at that time when she passed away, I was like, "I'm going to get mammograms earlier. I'm going to make a note to do that because this runs in my family." Even though the aunt relationship is not strong enough for them to give them to you earlier, it would have to be a direct family member like a sister, a daughter, or a mother for them to really start testing early for women.

But I remember thinking that in the back of my head at 14. So, I did end up having an ultrasound first, because Jim had done research saying that to request to have an ultrasound done first. If they could determine that it wasn't cancer that way, then they wouldn't have to do the mammogram. It was one way to reduce my exposure to radiation. So I had the ultrasound. They found it, and then I went into the radiologist's office, and she's like, "Well, it has some irregular borders, so we want to do a biopsy. It does look like a fibroadenoma, but we don't know for sure until we do a biopsy."

Another week later, week and a half, I'm trying to schedule these out after school because I don't want to take time off, do sub-brands. It's a lot of work for teachers to miss work. I'm like, "Okay, after 3:00 is really when I can make it." So that was part of why it took me a little longer because I wasn't trying to take off time.

Naomi Nakamura: Now, we're several weeks in.

Katie L.: Yeah, we're-

Naomi Nakamura: Still of, like not being clear.

Katie L.: Yeah, we're at the end of May.

Naomi Nakamura: Did you tell a lot of people other than your husband?

Katie L.: No.

Naomi Nakamura: Okay.

Katie L.: I did tell my mom, but that was it. At that point in time, that's all I had told. But I didn't want to freak anybody out, and I was hoping to give good news like, "Hey, just a PSA for everybody. Do your best in self-examines because you don't know ... You're never too young."

Naomi Nakamura: Right, well, and that's why I asked. I was like, "Obviously, this is going on for several weeks," but this is something that you also kept close to yourself and didn't share with anyone other than your mom and your husband, who are probably your biggest supporters and the hugest support for you. But at the same time, it's not like your entire support network was there to just be there for you. We'll get into that a lot more, but sorry to interrupt.

Katie L.: No, totally. Like I said, I just didn't want to freak anybody out yet because I didn't know anything. I had no answers for anybody, so it just felt too soon to tell anybody. So, another week later, I get my biopsy, the breast biopsy. So, you go to the radiology department. They make a little incision and stick a needle in, and they use an ultrasound to make sure they get the lump, and then they give you a little bit of glue and send you home with this little tiny ice pack in your bra and say, "Take some Tylenol."

That was over Memorial Day weekend, waiting for the results of that, and I told my brother at this point in time because it just felt like it was the right thing to tell him. So the following Tuesday was actually Jim and I's dating anniversary. We had been dating at that time for 13 years. I got the call. I was at work, and I let it go to voicemail because I'm with children. You can't really just take phone calls like that. I remember thinking, "I should just go listen to it, like listen to the voicemail. The kids are working. It will be okay." But I didn't because I was like, "What if it's bad news?"

I knew I wouldn't be able to handle that with the kids there. So I wait until afterschool, listen to the voicemail. She just said to call her back, so I called her back. She's like, "Katie, I'm sorry to do this over the phone, but you have cancer." She's the radiologist. She's not my doctor for treatment. So she's said I had an appointment.

Naomi Nakamura: A radiologist told you?

Katie L.: Yeah, yeah.

Naomi Nakamura: Okay.

Katie L.: I don't know how it happens for everybody else, but she's like, "You have an appointment with this surgeon on Thursday." This was Tuesday, so it's five weeks and this one time that I waited. It's also the last week of school, and I taught fifth grade. So, promotion ceremony's on Friday, and I have those report cards due. It's pretty chaotic. At that point, I called my husband, and I blurted out, "It's cancer," like no hello. I feel a little bit bad about that. I can't imagine getting that call myself. But I was barely coping. He said, "Do you still want to go out to dinner tonight? We had dinner plans for our anniversary." I said, "Yes, because I didn't know if we were going to any more."

They tell you have cancer. They don't just tell you what your prognosis is right away. So you have to wait some time before you actually know how things are going to be. We went out to dinner that night. It was pretty summer. I had called my mom and told her, and she came over after work just to give me a hug. After dinner, we went over to my brother's house. We live next door. We own a duplex together. He hadn't told my sister-in-law, so she didn't know that I even had a lump. He wasn't quite home from work yet. I thought he was.

He came over shortly after we told her and having that kind of news to deliver is really hard. So that was a really rough day, and I went home that night and composed an email to my closest friends and family because I knew I couldn't tell anybody. It was just a mess. I didn't want to tell my co-workers yet because, well, I'm super close to them. I just needed to get through those last four days of schools or three days of school. So that was kind of my focus for those next three days.

Naomi Nakamura: Well, I'm sure you had to also just wrap your head around all of it too.

Katie L.: Yeah, I just kind of did my thing, met with my surgeon on Thursday. I forget what he said. Actually, I'm trying to remember what the next thing ... It was a very long meeting with him and a nurse practitioner and just about the next steps.

Naomi Nakamura: So they automatically assigned you to a surgeon whether-

Katie L.: Yeah.

Naomi Nakamura: I mean, was it just already assumed that surgery was going to be your next step?

Katie L.: Actually, it wasn't my next step, and I don't know if it had been any different because they just know it's cancer. They don't know much about it yet. So they assigned me to a surgeon and then a slew of tests come next. I met with the surgeon. We talked about things. I asked like, "What stage is it? He's like, "We don't know. We don't know any of that stuff right now. What we're going to do is do a bunch of tests, and then we'll have more information." The school gets out on Friday, and starting Monday of that next week, at the doctor's appointments for different kinds of things.

I think there was probably some blood draws. There was definitely a breast MRI was next at some point that week and also a CT scan to check the internal organs. They want to make sure it's localized and it hasn't spread. I had the breast MRI, and I don't remember ... They give you some like Ativan because you're going to be stuck in this thing, and you have to lay like Superman, so you're laying face down with these little holes for your breasts to hang and then your arms are up. So it's a little more uncomfortable than another MRI, which I have had before.

Naomi Nakamura: You're still in this super enclosed, tiny space with the machine, like right in front of your face.

Katie L.: Yeah, yeah, and the fan blowing and everything. Because your arms are up that way, it's more uncomfortable than if they could just be by your sides normally. So there was that, and that did confirm that I had a second lump. In all of this, they're finding out what it looks like and what kind of cancer it is. It ended up being what they call invasive ductal carcinoma, which means it was in my duct, and it was invasive, meaning it's starting to spread into the breast tissue, and it's not just contained in the duct. The second tumor in the back was ... Sorry. It was further back against the chest wall and was what they call DCIS, ductal carcinoma in situ, which means it's basically in the duct, but it's not going anywhere. It's not spreading.

Katie L.: Those kinds of tumors people can have for a lot longer and not know about them because they're not feeling them. And again, mine was back by the chest wall, so it wasn't something-

Naomi Nakamura: So that wasn't the one you felt?

Katie L.: No, that wasn't the one I felt. It was bigger.

Naomi Nakamura: Oh, okay, and were they ... I mean, I don't know if you know this. But were they related to each other, or they were like two separate things going on?

Katie L.: They were two separate, but I believe, and what the doctors believe was that it started in that first tumor and then spread to the second one, the one that I found. That was closer to the surface. So that's what we believed, but it's really hard to know exactly what happened. They found that. Like I said, it was bigger, but it was only found in the breast MRI. I did have a mammogram that week as well, and it wasn't seen there.

Naomi Nakamura: Interesting, through a lot more advanced testing.

Katie L.: And it's younger women have dense breast tissue, typically, which is one of the reasons why they don't do mammograms for younger women, and they do have to warn you if you have been dense breast tissue, like this part of the mammogram process because basically it's a warning that there could be something, and we can't see it. The only way to see it was through the breast MRI. We also did, like I said, a CT scan, I think a chest X-ray, like a whole bunch of tests. They basically figured out what the plan of action was. They take it to the Cancer Board, which meets every ... Oncology meets every week, I think, on Friday mornings. They submit their cases and get opinions from the rest of the team members.

Naomi Nakamura: Oh, okay. I was going to say, "Wait, what is the Cancer Board?" I've never heard of that before.

Katie L.: I think it's pretty common, but I don't know for sure. It's like for your doctor's ... Definitely, if they're like, "Okay, this is the case. We think this is the best plan of action, but maybe this is the best plan of action."

Naomi Nakamura: So they consult on to get other people's opinions all-

Katie L.: Yeah.

Naomi Nakamura: That's pretty cool, actually.

Katie L.: Yeah, and because of the second tumor, the surgeon was thinking that he wanted to maybe do a sentinel node biopsy. A sentinel node biopsy is basically looking at your lymph nodes and seeing if it has spread to the lymph nodes, because at this point, we had not seen that had spread anywhere else. So it was just two tumors in the breast. They weren't really sure ... It was like, "Do we start treatment? Or do we do this?" They ended up determining that I should start treatment right away, and it ended up being what they call neoadjuvant chemotherapy, which means "before the surgery," essentially.

A lot of people have surgery and then chemotherapy. But I had chemotherapy and then surgery, and the purpose for this is so that they know when the cancer was gone if chemo worked. So if you have surgery, and then you have chemo, and cancer is gone. It doesn't come back. They don't know if they just get clean margins in the surgery, or did the chemotherapy actually affect your kind of cancer. So with doing chemotherapy first, I had a breast MRI in the middle, like halfway through, and we saw the tumors were shrinking. So we knew that my cancer was responding to this chemotherapy regimen.

So that's the purpose of it. If it's not responding to it, then they can change it also in the middle and decide, "Okay, we're going to go with this course of chemo, or we're going to change the frequency," or what have you. They ended up doing it that way. I started chemo ... I believe it was June 17. We're now, like six and a half-

Naomi Nakamura: Six.

Katie L.: ... weeks probably from when I found my lump, but about two weeks after being diagnosed. They have you go to chemotherapy 101 class so that you know what to expect. Once you have that, then you can get started.

Naomi Nakamura: So you were still going to Bowman at the same time?

Katie L.: I was. Through the testing, I was going to Bowman, but I think I only had had two classes since being diagnosed because classes were once a week. Well, they were five times a month, so it was once a week, but one week had two classes. So yeah, I was still going to Bowman at that time. I told the adviser there, and we figured we'd work something out once we knew what the plan was, because at the time you don't know what the plan is, it's hard to make a decision. So yeah, started chemotherapy mid-June, like I said, June 17th, and then they gave me three kinds of chemotherapy.

I can't even remember the names of the drugs, which is an awesome thing that I finally ... They've fallen out of my brain. But I don't need to remember them anymore, so we're at a good place now.

Naomi Nakamura: But was that process like?

Katie L.: So, chemotherapy and …

Naomi Nakamura: Yeah, Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Katie L.: They're like five hours long, at least mine were.

Naomi Nakamura: Because we hear about it, and we know this is the common course of treatment for cancer. But I don't think a lot of us truly understand what actually that's like.

Katie L.: Yeah, I mean, I had seen some shows with people going through it, and I had a little bit of anxiety going and just like, "What's this going to be like?" For me, it ended up being ... I don't want to say a painless process because it wasn't painless. But a lot less traumatic than I had thought it was going to be. In my head, it was going to be really bad, and it ended up being "manageable," quote-unquote. So you go in. They put your IV in, and I did not get a port. I only was scheduled to have six rounds of chemo every three weeks, so that was 18 weeks of chemo scheduled. That was going to take me through October.

Because it was only going to be six needle pokes, essentially, they're like, "We probably don't need a port for you." Some women have six rounds with two drugs, and then they have 12 rounds with, like where it's every week they go with just one drug. So those kinds of women, they often put in a port. They didn't ask for one either. But I think it ended up being okay. So they put in the IV, and they start to give you your pre-medication, and actually, you get premium medication before that. So I ended up picking up a bunch of drugs at the pharmacy, and they're mostly steroids.

Naomi Nakamura: I was going to say that you just managed the effects of it.

Katie L.: Yeah, exactly. Basically, most people think everyone with cancer gets really sick and nauseous. What's changed in cancer treatment in the last 20 or 30 years is that they have really good drugs to manage symptoms. I don't know that the chemotherapy has changed a ton. I'm sure it has. I don't know about it. But I know that the drugs to manage it are a lot better, so you take some steroids the day before, and then they give you more during chemo. They also give you Benadryl and saline and a bunch of stuff just to keep you hydrated, and that push of Benadryl, you're out like a light. I mean, in your IV, it hits you so fast compared to just taking a Benadryl pill. And so, they gave me free time.

Naomi Nakamura: So you would sleep during your treatments?

Katie L.: I would. I would bring books and coloring books. All kinds of things.

Naomi Nakamura: How long were they?

Katie L.: About four or five hours. I don't really remember exactly. But it'd be like 10:00 AM, and I'd leave at 2:00 or 3:00. They give you drugs back to back. So it's like one drug at a time, and they're monitoring you, blood pressure, all that. One of the drugs, and I can't remember what it's called now. Again, it's a vesicant, which means it can irritate your veins, where they're pumping it, and it can irritate your skin. If for whatever reason they didn't have a good IV placement, and it could leak out. It could leak out on your skin and burn your skin, basically.

So the nurse gets covered fingertip head to toe. She puts on not just the nurse scrubs. She puts on gloves and is totally covered so that she doesn't get it on her either. They do that one slowly, and one, like there's not a drip. That just happened like an IV. This, she pushes in with the syringe because she needs to make sure. So she pushes them and then pulls back and wants to see blood come out to see good blood return, they call it. Honestly, I-

Naomi Nakamura: You can't see the face I'm making hearing this.

Katie L.: I can. I'm totally afraid of needles at this time by the way, and I used to pass out when I would have my blood drawn and get lightheaded. By this point, I've had my blood ... I've been poked and prodded and all kinds of things. I'm a little bit of a pro. But even at this point currently today, not a big deal to me, but it does ... At first, I'm like, "Oh, dear God. This is horrible." She pulls back on the syringe to make sure that it is siphoning. You have to have that suction. It's kind of like that. You need to make sure that there's no leaking going on. So she keeps doing that.

That one's slow. Takes a little while because they want to make sure they're slowly pushing it into your body because otherwise, they really would burn your veins or irritate your body. Once that one's done, they plug in the next one, and then you just sit there. So it's just really a lot of sitting there, not doing much. It was never really painful or uncomfortable to me. You just get tired. That's really all you get is tired. I had a friend go with me every time, so Jim went with me once. My mom went with me once. My stepdad, my brother, my sister, my cousin, like everybody took a turn going with me, which was really awesome to have a companion, and just kept going.

I was like, "Okay, I'm just going to see how I feel," and I just took it day by day, and I was like that day before treatment, I ended up making a bunch of food. I felt ready and good that I could have a healthy food to eat because I was like, "I'm going to eat the best quality food possible. I'm doing this, and I'm not going to feel great in a couple days, so I'm going to cook now." You go home. You just feel tired. I mostly felt tired during chemotherapy. So I go home that day, and I have three weeks off. In a couple days, I'll go back and get in a shot to boost my white blood cell count. So that happened a couple days after treatment every time.

That would cause some bone pain because it's your white blood cells grow in your bones. So there was a night. I woke up in the middle of the night with pain in my femurs, and I remember waking up and moaning, and I just know I'm in pain. Jim's like, "What's wrong?" I'm like, "My bones hurt." He's like, "Take the Tylenol," so that really helped with that. But most of the time, I just felt tired. I felt a little bit lightheaded or no energy. But I would still try to go for walks every day. I had people coming and bringing me food all the time, and Jim would cook. My mom would come over and help. My sister-in-law would make me food, go pick me up food. So I have lots of help with that.

Those first about 10 days after the chemo was just the times I just didn't feel very good. I didn't really go anywhere, didn't really do anything. I just laid low. I watch a lot of TV, spend a time on social media. I had visitors, but I just didn't do much besides like go for walks around the neighborhood and stuff. I didn't drive.

Naomi Nakamura: Did you share your journey blog about it as you were going through it?

Katie L.: I did, so I did blog about it after school went out and knew that I could tell people. I just felt like, okay, that Saturday after school went out in June, I put it out on Facebook, and I sent out an email to my colleagues, and I just felt like I was coming out of the closet. I know that that's not necessarily good comparison for everybody, but it just felt like I was hiding a part of me that was super scary, and it just felt really weird to not be able to tell people. I was doing a 100 Happy Days challenge, just like #100happydays. I was in the middle of it when I got diagnosed, so it was really hard to just be like, "I got to find something that I'm grateful for today."

So I did tell everybody on Facebook, and that was actually a huge relief. When people talked to me about their diagnosis now ... This proverb, I think it's a Polish proverb, but I come back to it pretty often. Grief shared is halved, and joy shared is doubled.

Naomi Nakamura: It's unburdening, right?

Katie L.: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, yeah. I felt really good to share with people. So I was posting about it on Facebook, updating people. Then a friend of mine recommended that I should blog about it, so I did blog about what was going on. So mostly I blogged what I was feeling, how things were going, because people were always asking me. It was like a nice place for people to go ahead and check out the blog instead of necessarily posting the whole thing on Facebook or something. I did do that through treatment. That first half of each chemo cycle, I didn't drive because I just felt like a little out of it. My reaction time wasn't fast enough, and I just didn't want to drive.

It was like I didn't really need to drive anywhere. Someone could drive me to my appointments. I always found someone who could take me. Your immune system also does this reverse bell curve. So at the beginning of your chemo cycle, it's stable. Then around the middle of it, like around day 12 or so, it dips to its lowest. Then it jumps back up. So, you're supposed to be really careful about going out.

Naomi Nakamura: Well, I have to ask you this. Do they educate you about all of this through their process? Or is this things that you already knew because you were going to Bauman and you were so well-versed already? Was there a lot of education for patients going through this process?

Katie L.: Yeah, I mean that Chemo 101 class beforehand, definitely, is where they taught me a lot of this stuff to expect and those kinds of things. But I do think that I wasn't your average patient. You know what I mean? I wasn't just like, "Oh, whatever you say doctor." I definitely had lots of questions and was like-

Naomi Nakamura: You're a questioner too, right?

Katie L.: No. I am mostly an Upholder but also an Obliger, like I meet that middle area. So, no, I'm not a questioner, which is really hard because you don't know what questions to ask your doctor. You're like, "I don't know what I don't know," and so, you're relying on them to tell you all the information, and it's hard to know what to ask about. I remember reading a lot of books, and that helped me with figuring out what questions to ask. But yeah, so that second half of the cycle, I would feel pretty good. I would go out and do things and drive and felt like I could be more myself. But at the end of that first chemo cycle, we were originally supposed to go to Aruba that summer, which we had to cancel.

We took a little mini-getaway weekend to Monterey, and I remember that was when my hair was starting to fall out, and that would be like in the hotel room. It was a very vivid memory of, like drying my hair and just pulling my hair in my hand and just clumps of hair. I was just like, "Oh, dear God," and there's just not much you can do to hide it. It's just coming out. When they talk about that at the Chemo 101 class that your hair will probably fall out about day 21, which is three weeks, which is about when you go for your second treatment.

Naomi Nakamura: I was going to say, so even from the very first treatment, you're going to start to see those things?

Katie L.: Yeah, and I was like, "I don't want to be bald," but I'm just going to embrace it like it wasn't the thing that scared me the most. I decided to plan a hair shaving party because I just felt like it would be ... I'm trying to make light of the situation a little bit and to connect with people and have them there. It felt like a lot of people wanted to do stuff for me. I got gifts and cards and notes and texts from people that I hadn't spoken to in 10 years or more. It was really cool to see people reach out and be in your corner. But it was kind of that hair shaving party was one of those options.

I was like, "I'm not bring ... planning food because I'm dealing with treatment, so if you want to bring food, bring food. We're going to shave our heads. If you want to shave your head, you're welcome to shave it too." So, my hairstylist came over. I was like, "Would you mind doing my makeup? Because I want to have my makeup done before I get my head shaved off." She did my makeup. Friend came over and took pictures of the whole thing for me. We'd done makeup. She shaved my head, and then my brother shaved his head, and my cousin and my brother friends are all only children or only have brothers, so I'm the sister for everybody. I was everybody's little sister.

I think it was maybe three of the guys shaved their heads off, mine too. So it was kind of cool to have a little bit of companionship even though it's a different for guys. But-

Naomi Nakamura: With the act of solidarity.

Katie L.: Exactly, exactly. So yeah, we did that, and it was nice to share your bald head with people you know before going out in public the next day. I just felt like ... It felt a little less scary to go out with no hair the next thing. It worked for me. I know it won't work for everybody. But I think I would always recommend that you have your hair shaved because if you hang onto your hair, it's just going to be hard. It's a sad reminder. Being bald is also a sad reminder. But the scraggliness of it just starts to look really depressing in my mind.

Naomi Nakamura: It's almost like you are just owning the situation, and-

Katie L.: Right. Taking charge.

Naomi Nakamura: ... you're taking charge of it as opposed to the situation taking charge of you.

Katie L.: Exactly like, "Okay, I'm losing my hair. I'm going to get rid of it. I'm not letting cancer get rid of it. I'm getting rid of it." The whole process of losing your hair is definitely hard, but you get used to it. I think the hardest part was down the road, you lose your eyebrows and eyelashes, and that's hardest. I have pictures of that. Then, you wouldn't know it's me. There's no identifying features anymore. It feels like, "Who's that person?" That's just some old man. That's what it looks like.

Naomi Nakamura: So you went through the whole 18 weeks of cancer?

Katie L.: Yes, yes.

Naomi Nakamura: And that was your only treatment at the time?

Katie L.: Yes. The only other thing that we were doing was because I have a strong family history of cancer, I had an aunt that had passed away, like I had mentioned, and an aunt that was finishing up treatment. She tested negative for any genetic mutations, the aunt that was currently dealing with it. But they still were like, "You're still really young." You know, like I said, I heard this from many doctors. "You're so young. You're too young," all of that. They did do the GeneEd testing to see if I did have any genetic mutations, and it came back. I did have the BRCA1 mutation, which puts me at a higher risk for breast cancer, a second breast cancer, ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer, and melanoma.

It's really informed the treatment plan. So it was important to know that because the fact that my risk for a second breast cancer I think was, and I'm going to probably mess up the statistic. I think it was about 60% chance, like a pretty high percent chance of a second breast cancer. That really solidified the idea of a bilateral mastectomy when I do have surgery. So, both breasts instead of just the one. Yeah, I did come back positive for that. So what did was enable everybody in my family to get tested.

My mom and my brother got tested, and we determined that it was on my dad's side. My brother does have the mutation as well. It puts him at a higher risk for male breast cancer and prostate cancer. But the risk for him is still really low, so it's like it doubles the risk I think on both things, but the risk of those cancers in men is like 9% or something. It's pretty low, so he's maybe at an 18% chance of risk. He meet with doctors to determine what he needs to do to monitor himself.

Naomi Nakamura: After your chemo ended, after 18 weeks, then what happened?

Katie L.: They want to get your immune system strong again before you have surgery. I had surgery scheduled for right before Thanksgiving. We were going forward with the bilateral mastectomy, and I was then ... During chemo, I'm meeting with my oncologist before every session. They're talking to me. They're checking how I'm tolerating and those kinds of things. So now, I switch to meeting with my surgeon. I'm meeting with my surgeon in preparation for surgery. We're talking about my options, and then I start meeting with my plastic surgeon because I'm going to have some reconstruction done.

You can have lots of different things done. There's ones where they take your belly fat and make new breasts of your ... or anywhere of your body. But they take new breasts of the body's tissue, and then those kinds of implants.

Naomi Nakamura: So you had your primary care physician, the radiologist, the surgeon, your oncologist, and then a plastic surgeon?

Katie L.: Uh-huh (affirmative). Yeah, yeah. It's a lot of doctors.

Naomi Nakamura: It takes a village.

Katie L.: Yes, it does. I mean, a little bit of the problem in my mind with that is that they don't take that holistic view that I really believe. They're looking at you from their perspective, so that makes it kind of hard.

Naomi Nakamura: Just from their specialty and not -

Katie L.: They're impacting each other, but-

Naomi Nakamura: Right, right.

Katie L.: ... they're not well-versed in the other areas.

Naomi Nakamura: Okay, so after chemo ended, you're being prepped for surgery, but you have the surgery?

Katie L.: No, so I didn't have the surgery until ... Actually, it ended up being postponed a couple weeks because my surgeon was sick. So it ended being the first week of December, December 3rd. I had a bilateral mastectomy with immediate reconstruction, which means that I decided to have ... I did not decide because I had to use my belly fat or any of that to make breasts. One was they didn't think there was really enough there to make breasts, and it's a lot longer of a surgery. It sounds insane to me when I listen to people talk about it. It's called a DIEP flap, and there's a couple different kinds, but it's D-I-E-P flap.

They basically have to take the bat and keep it. They have to keep the blood flow going to it. They have to rewire all of your arteries and veins to get blood flow to those or else the tissue dies. So I guess I can ... 12 or 18-hour surgery. It's very long.

Naomi Nakamura: I'm making the face again when you're talking about the injections. Sorry.

Katie L.: Yeah, no. When I think about it, it sounds crazy. My surgery ended up being about six to eight hours, and I don't know how long I was out. But that was a lot shorter, the surgery. They tag team it, so the surgeons, they're doing the mastectomy. He's making the initial cuts and removing all the breast tissues, scraping the chest wall of any breast tissue that he can find. His goal is to remove all the adipose in that area and ducts and the nipples. I chose to remove the nipples. You can choose to keep your nipples. I chose to remove them.

The goal is to remove all the fat, but it's not that they can get all the fat. So there's that chance of recurrence is that they can't guarantee they get all of that, but they do their best to get everything. Then the plastic surgeon takes over and starts to put in my expanders. These are like empty implants that they try to ... They have some sort of magnet in them. They fill them later, which we can talk about later. They've put in these empty implants. They're just essentially like an empty silicon circle, I think, and then they sewed me up.

Their goal was to put some saline. They fill it with saline in there. But during surgery, my skin was irritated, so the surgeon decided to just sew me up and get me out of surgery so that everything kept going well. I woke up from surgery feeling drugged up, obviously, but happy to know that everything went well. They got all the cancer. They didn't find anything else, tolerated everything well. The other thing that happens before surgery is you do end up having that sentinel node biopsy that I mentioned earlier.

What they did was the day before you go, and they take a tiny needle, and they stick it in your nipples, and they inject you with some ... I'm not sure if it's a radioactive dye, but some sort of a dye so that they can see it in a CT scan later and find where your lymph nodes are. They injected me with whatever that dye is.

Naomi Nakamura: That's actually really painful, isn't it?

Katie L.: It wasn't comfortable.

Naomi Nakamura: Because my mom had that. My mom was actually a kidney donor for her sister. So, in prepping for that whole process, and this was 25 years ago. I was much younger and didn't pay attention, but I remember her talking about that process about having to inject ink so they can see. I just remember her saying it was not a pleasant experience.

Katie L.: Yeah, I remember not loving it. But yeah, so then they give you the CT scan so they can find where your lymph nodes are because we all have lymph nodes, especially a ton in this area, and they're not like, "Oh, it's here." It's not like a bone you can find. They have to look for them. So they marked me with a sharpie, an X with a sharpie on my two lymph nodes that they found and said, "Don't wash that off," because they need it tomorrow. They're in the middle of the surgery. They are determining whether they're going to take a lot of lymph nodes or just a couple lymph nodes.

They first take those lymph nodes initially in surgery early on, and they biopsy them right away during surgery so they know if they need to take a lot. They know if it's spread to my lymph nodes, basically, yes or no. So mine came back negative. It did not spread to my lymph nodes, so they only took the two. It meant that they didn't have to do more in my armpit essentially of taking in around there to take more lymph nodes. That was also happening during surgery. So waking up, hearing that, it didn't spread to my lymph nodes, and that everything was fine.

But also, I was like a D-cup, maybe a little larger. D-cup-plus before surgery. So, waking up completely flat, flat as a board. It's kind of a weird thing, especially expecting to see a small breast there because I was expecting him to fill a portion of the implants but he did not. So that was kind of weird. I remember being like, "I'm so thirsty, and I have to pee." Those are the two things I remember every time I wake up from a surgery, and they're like, "Well, you have a catheter in."

I was like, "What? Nobody told me they'd be in those lady bits. I knew you were going to be working with my breasts. I had no idea you were putting a catheter in." I didn't think ... If I had thought like, "Obviously, you're going to have a catheter. You're in surgery for eight hours, and then you can't move very easily to go to the bathroom." But it didn't occur to me to ask. Yeah, it didn't occur to me. So that was a little shocker. Then they gave me ice chips to do with my thirst because I was already peeing. If you feel like you have to pee when you have a catheter, it means you're actually peeing. I learned that.

Naomi Nakamura: So after your surgery, did you have to go through radiation at all?

Katie L.: Yeah. So initially, when I talked to the surgeon, back in June, that first meeting, he's like, "It'll be chemotherapy and surgery. We'll just decide which order. But you won't need radiation." Then when we found the second tumor in the back, towards the chest wall, they wanted to ... The radiation was to make sure that it didn't recur back there. So they changed that plan once they found that second tumor.

Naomi Nakamura: What was that process like?

Katie L.: So actually, you can't do radiation until you're finished expanding your expanders because your skin doesn't really stretch much afterwards. It stretches, but it's a very slow process. I would go every after about four weeks, so you have these drains in also to help deal with any excess fluid. Somebody a couple times a day, Jim and my mom or a friend was pulling these little ... You have drains and your skin, and they have little pipes, plastic tubing, and they're pulling that to get that suction of whatever's there. They fill up a little bulb at the bottom.

It looks ... I don't know, like a little hand pump up to something. When they would dump that every day, we would measure how much was in there so that way we could figure out when we could get rid of those strings. I had two drains on each side. So you have to wear a special little camisole that holds your drains because you ... Otherwise, they're pulling on your skin, and it's freshly sewn up, and you don't want to do that So that's happening. Once the drain's removed, and then they start filling my expander. So right around new years of that year, I would go in, and they would use a syringe and fill up my expanders.

It's kind of weird. The doctor would take a little ... I call it a stud finder, but it's a magnet finder. You find where the magnet was, where basically the place where he could insert the saline, and he would clean that area, and then he'd just take a syringe with a needle and pop it in, push the fluid in. You are totally numb, like you don't have any feeling, because I was like, "You're not going to numb me before you stick me with this needle?" He was like, "You probably won't need it, but we will if you need it." So yeah, you don't have any a feeling of that.

Naomi Nakamura: I would've asked for the same thing.

Katie L.: Yeah. I mean, you don't know what you don't know. You're like, "I'm not going to have feeling there?" Four years later, and I still don't have feeling on my breast anymore. Once you've messed with that area, that tissue's sort of dead. It's not dead. I shouldn't say that. That's not the right word, but it just loses sensation. So I would go every week, and he'd fill up 100 CCs of fluid in each breast until we had expanded to what I had wanted. I wanted to downsize a little bit. We did that. Then once they were filled, then I could start radiation. We're at the end of January now, and I go and get my first radiation appointment.

Naomi Nakamura: Were you working? Did you go back to work during the school year?

Katie L.: No, no.

Naomi Nakamura: Okay.

Katie L.: Our school district has something called catastrophic leave. Basically, if you have something like this, you can take these days because we get 10 days off a year, and they're not days off. They're like sick days or personal days. You can accrue them. So every year, you have so many. I had 33 at the beginning of that school year. So, what they did was they used my sick days, and then I pulled from the catastrophic leave bank of days for about ... I think I used about 90 days. Ended up being ... Part of the reason was you work with children, and your immune system is being assaulted, so they really don't want you to be exposed to anything.

Naomi Nakamura: Good point, good point.

Katie L.: That was one of the reasons why they recommended not working. Luckily, this was an option for me. So yeah, I'm not working. In January, you go for your radiation appointment, and they line you up on the table. They figure out ... They use all these lasers to figure out exactly where you need to be because they want to be very precise with the part of the skin that gets radiated because they don't want to radiate extra stuff.

Naomi Nakamura: So is it light going on you or-

Katie L.: Mm-hmm (affirmative), yeah.

Naomi Nakamura: Oh, okay.

Katie L.: You can't feel it. It's not painful, the process itself. They have you lay on this piece of table, and they put this foam on there. It's liquid, and then it starts to solidify. They keep you in this shape, but they want you to ... So everybody who gets radiation has their foam in the closet, and I can come every day, and you can put this foam on the table.

Naomi Nakamura: It's like the mold of your body?

Katie L.: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Naomi Nakamura: Okay.

Katie L.: And exactly in the angle that they want me to be to get the right location.

Naomi Nakamura: How often did you have to go?

Katie L.: You go every day for ... I went for 25 days, so five weeks. Most people do about five ... I think four to six weeks is generally what I've heard from most people. You do have to go every day. They also give you some tattoos. I only have two, but some people have more than that. They give you some tattoos that they use again with these lasers in the ceiling to help line you up and make sure you're in the right spot. I had one right in between my two breasts, on the sternum, and then one on the side, like below my armpit, and those helped to line me up as well. So, those were my first tattoos ever.

Naomi Nakamura: Were there any side effects?

Katie L.: For me, it was just exhaustion. It was just exhaustion. The other thing was that your skin gets red and irritated and-

Naomi Nakamura: Well, yeah, because it's radiation.

Katie L.: Yeah, yeah, like the sunburn. They could put aloe on it every day, a price a day, those kinds of things. The other thing I-

Naomi Nakamura: How long was it every day?

Katie L.: It's like five minutes.

Naomi Nakamura: Oh, okay.

Katie L.: You get there. You get on a table, and you're in there for less than five minutes, and then you're out. So it's pretty quick. It's just annoying to have to drive to doctor's office. Luckily, I'm close, but some people don't live close. The other thing was I remember my skin was getting irritated, and I had asked them for something, and they actually gave me some calendula cream from ... There's a brand that you can buy at Whole.

Naomi Nakamura: I know what you're talking about.

Katie L.: Yeah, I was like, "I posted it on Facebook." I was like, "Look at this. Way to go, Western medicine. I'm so impressed with you using natural herbs and good healing products for this," instead of like, "Here's a steroid cream," you know?

Naomi Nakamura: Right.

Katie L.: I was mostly just tired. So, partway through that, I decided to go back to work half-time. I work half days only so that I could finish radiation in the afternoon, and then I could rest and just ease myself back into work because I just didn't think that I wanted to go back full-time, and I didn't want to overexhaust myself. I did feel a little bit of, not guilt, but I just didn't want to take up all the days from this catastrophic leave thing. I was super grateful to have them, but I just felt like, "Okay, I could probably work now."

Naomi Nakamura: You're like, you're feeling a little bit more capable.

Katie L.: It was nice. Nice to have something to do, a routine to get back into, and all of that good stuff.

Naomi Nakamura: After the five weeks of radiation, then what happened?

Katie L.: Then I'm waiting six months to have my expanders swapped out for real implants. So you have to wait a six months for the skin to heal and calm down. At that point in time, yeah, I just waited until October. I think it was like the 10 or 11th to have my expander surgery and have my implant swapped out, and that was like a three-hour surgery, just the plastic surgeon, a much easier sort of deal. Two-week recovery versus a six-to-eight-week recovery, so it's a much easier thing to tolerate.

Naomi Nakamura: At that point, were you considered to be in remission and cancer-free?

Katie L.: Yeah, so, December third was my surgery, and then I think it was on the eighth. Yeah, December 8th. I call that my remission-versary.I made up all these names for everything. So that's the day that the doctor's like, "I'm so glad to call. I mean, I'm glad to call you and tell you that you don't have any cancer." So I was like doing this little happy dance at home. My mom was here, and Jim was home, so we were super excited. We got to yell and scream and be excited. I was officially cancer-free.

Naomi Nakamura: I mean, that's amazing. After you had your implants in, was that just kind of like you're good to go?

Katie L.: Kind of. If I had had concerns of any kind ... I mean, I still see my oncologist, so years later. Every three months, I would see him. We're down to every six months now.

Naomi Nakamura: Okay.

Katie L.: I'll still see him for the rest of my ... an oncologist for the rest of my life. They'll never stop seeing me. It'll probably like once a year at some point. But I wasn't seeing the other radiation oncologist. I wasn't seeing the plastic surgeon or anybody. The only thing I was doing was just having plastics touch-ups. The way they sew your skin together, at the ends, you have these little dog ears that poke out. So I had one of those removed, like a very small, outpatient, 20-minute sort of thing. I actually did end up having my implants that I got in October swapped out in the following June. They were a little smaller than I realized they would be.

Katie L.: I had them put any bigger implants and make them a little bit more symmetrical, so I did have that done. But, I mean, that was a choice. I didn't have to have anything done at that point in time.

Naomi Nakamura: Well, we intended this to be a 45-minute interview, and I think we're about there right now, but there's so much more that we're going to talk about. So this is actually going to be a multi-series. In the next episode, you're going to come back and join us, and we're going to talk about topics like how to support someone through cancer, because I don't know about you, but for me, whenever I hear of a loved one or a dear friend or really just anyone that I know has cancer, I'm almost at a loss as to what I can do. I think we all want to be there, and we want to help and support in any way that we can, but we don't know what's appropriate there.

I know it's going to be different for every person. But in our next episode, Katie's going to share with us what that was like for her and give us some of the advice that she gives to other people. Then we're going to have a follow-up episode to that, and we're going to talk about how ... We talked about how Katie practices a holistic approach. So we're going to talk about how to bridge that gap between what your oncologist and what your medical team's telling you and also what they aren't telling you, because there's also a lot of things that you can do for yourself. I think we're good for today.

Katie L.: Okay, awesome.

Naomi Nakamura: Yeah, we got two more episodes coming up. So thank you so much for being here. I know that this was super vulnerable for you to share, and I'm so appreciative of how open and transparent you were, and I know that this is something that will definitely help a lot of people. It was so educational for me because I have not heard anybody share their story in this kind of detail before, as in detail of like what actually did you go to with your treatment. So, thank you so much for sharing that, and we'll be back next week.

Katie L.: All right. You're very welcome. Thanks for having me.

Naomi Nakamura: I mean, wasn't that incredible to hear Katie share so much details about what she went through? I was just struck by the amount of details that she's been able to remember all these years later. Now, before we close out this episode, I do want to take a moment to truly thank Katie for being so open and willing to share this deeply personal and excruciating experience. You know you heard this. It wasn't easy for her to do. But I know and she knows that it will be helpful and informative to so many men and women who may be facing breast cancer and to also to anyone who loves them and supports them.

So that's it for this week. I'll be back next week with Katie to continue this mini-series on surviving breast cancer. Now, you can connect with Katie over on her website at www.cleaneatingwithkatie.com or on social media @cleaneatingwithkatie. You can check out the show notes over on my website at www.livefablife.com/056 for Episode 056, and you'll find all the relevant links from this episode as well as the full transcript of our conversation. You can also join my email for insider exclusives, weekly updates, and find out how we can work together too. Thanks for listening, and we'll see you next week.

If you enjoyed this episode, it would mean the world to me if you would subscribe to this podcast, write a review, or even share it with someone who you know would enjoy it too. In the meantime, you can find the show notes for this episode and all other episodes over on my website at www.livefablife.com. There, you can submit a question to be answered right here on the show. Sign up for weekly updates, insider access, and get behind-the-scenes scoops, and learn how we can work together too. Most importantly, thank you so much for being here, and I can't wait to connect with you again on the next episode of the show. See you next week.

Let's Be Friends!

Sign-up for my email list and receive weekly letters with real and honest conversations on how to transform your skin and view life from a healthier perspective!


Naomi Nakamura is a certified Holistic Health Coach who takes a holistic approach through functional nutrition. Through her weekly show, The Live FAB Live Podcast, coaching programs, and safer skincare solutions, she helps people with acne and other chronic skin issues clear up their skin by teaching them where food meets physiology and how food, gut health, stress, and toxins are intricately connected to the health and appearance of our skin. Naomi resides in the San Francisco Bay Area and can often be found romping around the city with her puppy girl, Coco Pop! Connect with Naomi at: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest.