Keeping Up With Kristina

$16,545 of $25,000 goal

Raised by 128 people in 10 months
Created April 22, 2018
Keeping Up With Kristina
on behalf of Kristina Kittelson

Kristina Kittelson needs our help. For years Kristina has provided her voice, energy and time to make the Grand Valley a great place to live, ride bikes and enjoy the outdoors. Now she needs our help as she puts her energy into healing her body from Stage IV colon cancer. Because of her new cancer diagnosis and required chemotherapy, she is currently unable to work as an Operating Room Nurse at Colorado Canyons Hospital. This sudden loss of income hurts even more because many of the tests she has already endured are not covered by her health insurance. 

Kristina is one of us.  She’s lived in the Grand Valley for over 17 years, graduated from Mesa State College with her BSN in Nursing and went on to obtain her Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) as Family Nurse Practitioner at University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. She’s worked at Colorado Canyons Hospital in Fruita, St. Mary’s and Community Hospital in Grand Junction. She’s the founder of the Singletrack and Skinny Tire Sisters, has worked as the Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Trail Association Coordinator and the Grand Media Nordic Council Membership Director, and helped organize the Tour of the Valley charity road ride for Community Hospital. Her most recent adventure was the development of the website, Cycling Western Colorado, to promote biking across the Western Slope. 

Kristina is an incredibly fit, educated, optimistic woman who is facing a difficult road. Please consider partnering with her on her journey to wellness by providing your financial assistance. If we each take a pull out in the wind, soon enough we’ll be back to Keeping Up With Kristina!

There are a couple of ways you can help with this effort:

-Provide a onetime donation to help meet the many medical expenses not covered by Kristina’s health insurance that are rapidly adding up

-Commit to pledge monthly over the next 5 months to help replace Kristina's lost income and to assist in covering her insurance payments while she undergoes chemotherapy and cannot work
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Today the Palisade Velo Benevolent Society presented our wonderful friend and riding buddy with $4000 raised during the 2018 4th Annual Palisade Gran Fondo. We thank all of our sponsors, riders, volunteers and especially everyone who purchased our beautiful Pactimo Custon jerseys and jackets for making this possible. We are out of jackets now, but still have both men's and women's jerseys available. They are $60 and the proceeds go to Keeping Up With Kristina. Want one?! e-mail us at palisadevelo@gmail.com
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Round 10 Updated from K2
Journal entry by Kristina Kittelson — Aug 15, 2018

Hello everybody! I missed an update - sorry about that. However, I have news to share with you!

I just finished chemo round 10 today. We stopped the Oxaliplatin due to neuropathy in my hands and feet. It's mild but it's there all the time and has the potential to get worse before it gets better so all agreed it was a good time to stop. I just got the Avastin infusion today and came home with the pump of 5FU. I'll start on maintenance in three weeks. Maintenance consists of the oral form of 5FU, which I'll take for two weeks and then be off for a week, and an infusion of Avastin every three weeks. My quality of life should improve during this phase of treatment.

As you know I am a member of several Colontown groups on Facebook. I've learned a lot from other members about potential treatments. I decided to seek a consultation at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. There is a leading oncologist there named Dr. Kemeny, who pioneered a treatment called hepatic arterial infusion pump or HAI pump. The pump delivers chemotherapy directly to the liver. She believes I am a candidate. I'm not sure what I'll end up doing, but believe it is worth getting more information. I scheduled appointments with Dr. Kemeny and a surgeon, Dr. Kingham, at the end of the month. My dear Steamboat friend, Jody Corey, who is originally from NYC, is going with me to be my personal guide! I have never been to NYC, and am excited to visit the Big Apple! I will give you an update when I return.

I continue to do really well all things considered. And I still have my hair after all! BK and I have been on a few camping trips to the Grand Mesa and Camp Hale (between Minturn and Leadville, CO) with friends. I am still doing short road rides and I hope to be back on the mountain bike soon.

As always, thank you so much for your continued support, which has come in many forms: texts, phone calls, visits, food delivery, and donations to the Keeping Up With Kristina Go Fund Me campaign. All are appreciated!

Both BK and I are learning to live with this new normal. It's not easy. We have good days and bad days but are still able to find gratitude for family, friends, our cats, and our ability to get out and enjoy nature. I know life can be hard, but we really are only here for a short time in the scheme of things and I encourage you to embrace life and ALL it has to offer - the good, the bad, and the ugly. Don't sweat the small stuff! Love and hugs to you all.
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Round 8 Update and More from Kristina
Journal entry by Kristina Kittelson — 17 hours ago

Hello all!
We have been busy here in Fruita since the last update. My mom arrived from Iowa on July 2nd, and she spent her 79th birthday with me at chemo round 7 on July 3rd. We went to Denver last week and had a packed itinerary. I have been connecting with people on Facebook in an organization called Colontown. They have many groups that focus on a different topics related to colon cancer. I'm in several including the Mile High Colontown group in Denver. The founder of Colontown was in Denver for a fundraising event, and the local chapter hosted a potluck for her on Thursday evening. My mom, Brian and I attended. It was great to meet other colon cancer survivors and caregivers! The connections and information sharing were amazing (see group picture attached). We also spent time with Brian's parents and friends over the weekend.

I had an appointment on Monday with my new oncologist, Dr. Messersmith. We really liked him, and feel the comprehensive care I'll received there is beneficial in addition to the care I am getting here in Grand Junction. Dr. Messersmith agrees with Dr. McGregor that my liver is not resectable at this time as I have tumors in both lobes of the liver. We decided to continue with the current chemotherapy regime for a few more cycles as I am having a positive treatment response with minimal side-effects. I'll have another scan before round 11. If side-effects worsen in the meantime (mainly peripheral neuropathy, which can become permanent), we may need to stop or reduce the dose of one of the chemo drugs, so stay tuned! Once I am done with the current chemo treatment, I will move to the next phase, which is called maintenance. This involves oral medications and an infusion once every three weeks. I'll stay on maintenance as long as there is no disease progression. If/when the disease begins to progress again, I'll go back on chemotherapy or enroll in a clinical trail.

What this all means is that currently my cancer is treatable, not curable. However, I maintain hope that this can and will change as it has for many people in the Colontown groups. My two hopes are that the liver will convert to a resectable state (surgery to remove the tumors) and/or new therapies are developed over the next few years that can cure my particular tumor type.

We have been on a roller coaster ride over the past 5 months for sure. Some days are good, some not. The main challenge is learning to live with this new "normal" and focusing on quality of time versus quantity. The love and support you have all given and the help you have provided through the Keeping Up With Kristina Go Fund Me campaign has made all the difference in the world. Your good vibes, thoughts and prayers, cards, notes, texts, etc, all help to make each day better.

Please know this: I choose to be positive and hopeful and I continue to look for ways to make a difference for other people. Who knows what the future will bring!?

I continue to try to be as active as possible - I've been able to go for short, slow road rides, walks and yoga. BK and I even went on a weekend getaway to Crested Butte to see the wildflowers.

Love to you all!

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This is the most recent update from Kristina- but since this entry, she has spent a beautiful weekend seeing the wildflowers in Crested Butte and had yet another round of Chemo which went well, but is making her feel fairly crappy. She's hoping to feel better in a couple of days and be out for some bike riding this weekend before heading down to Denver.

PET Scan Update
Journal entry by Kristina Kittelson — Jun 27, 2018

Good news!!! Liver lesions shrinking in size and possibly number. The PET scan is a little different imaging than the CT scan with contrast so it's hard to compare number exactly, but the good news is I am having a positive treatment response. We may increase chemo rounds to 12 depending on what Dr. Messersmith in Denver recommends. The lung nodules appear to be benign as they are not hyper-metabolic on the PET scan and the size remains unchanged. If they were metastatic lesions, they would be getting smaller and "light up" on the PET scan. More good news! Thank you Jen for coming to the appointment with us! Love to you all! Will give another update soon.
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$16,545 of $25,000 goal

Raised by 128 people in 10 months
Created April 22, 2018
Keeping Up With Kristina
on behalf of Kristina Kittelson
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Julia Davis
1 month ago
2 months ago
Palisade Gran Fondo
5 months ago (Offline Donation)
Garry Baker
5 months ago
Patricia Arabia
6 months ago
MB Deering
6 months ago
Krissy Steele
6 months ago
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6 months ago
Trish Brown
6 months ago
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