Kristina Sturgill of Kingsport is a cancer survivor and stands with her husband Greg and children Chase Hartsock and Austin Hartsock. Photo by Erica Yoon.
As a nursing student and employee in the oncology unit at Holston Valley Medical Center’s Wilcox Hall, Kristina Sturgill has a unique perspective when it comes to dealing with cancer patients.
She’s a breast cancer survivor.
Sturgill, who will graduate from King College’s nursing program in May 2012, had been married four months when she discovered the lump in September 2006. She called to schedule her very first mammogram.
On Sept. 21, 2006, obstetrician/gynecologist Robert Saunders gave her the diagnosis — stage 3 breast cancer. Sturgill was 30 years old.
“After he told me, I just started crying. I told him I was too young, that I had two small children,” she said of Chase and Austin, her sons from a previous marriage. She also has a stepdaughter.
Sturgill was immediately sent to surgeon Thomas Brock, and they agreed that a double mastectomy was necessary. The cancer was in her lymph nodes. Her surgery was Oct. 4, 2006. It was followed by eight doses of chemotherapy and 25 radiation treatments.
“After that, they said it was clear, all gone. The MRI showed clear,” she said.
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