Adventist Health Bakersfield | You + Us | Fall 2019

6 Living God’s love by inspiring health, wholeness and hope. Young women who understand Through the Adventist Health AIS Cancer Center, Kristen Krafthefer was connected with a group of young cancer survivors, the Young Survival Coalition (YSC). “It was great to be able to ask these women questions,” Kristen says. “When I was violently ill, I remember reaching out to one woman in the group who told me to chew my anti-nausea medication to get it into my system faster. I needed this support from someone who had been in my place and fought cancer.” Learn more about YSC at Kristen and John Krafthefer were set up on a date by a mutual friend. The two hit it off instantly. Two years after meeting, they were married. “It was a quick engagement,” Kristen says. “We got engaged at the end of January, and John insisted we get married in March!” Her life was busy—and not just with wedding planning. She was also taking care of her 90-year-old grandfather and working two jobs. “John told me life is good, and we need to be married,” she says. “It was a perfect day. My granddad and family were there.” For better, for worse It wasn’t long before the happy newlyweds faced a loss. Kristen’s grandfather became ill and passed away. Around that same time, John was strongly urging Kristen to have a lump in her breast checked. “I had a lot going on. I just kept putting it off, but he wouldn’t let me,” she says. Kristen eventually agreed, and John took the day off to go with his new wife to her appointment. After several tests, Kristen, with John at her side, learned she had stage II invasive ductal carcinoma breast cancer. “I was shocked. I never thought this would happen to me,” she says. YOU + US : Together i nsp i red ™ Inspiring Hope Loving support and expert care Kristen’s treatment included a mastectomy, eight rounds of chemotherapy, 28 rounds of radiation treatment and a number of follow-up surgeries. Through it all she never felt alone—thanks to her cancer care team at the Adventist Health AIS Cancer Center and her devoted husband, she says. “I love that we fought cancer. We went to doctor appointments,” Kristen says. “It was never ‘My wife is going through this.’ It was always us together. As newlyweds, we fought cancer.” She also doesn’t hesitate to give her care team credit for saving her life— and taking care of her in a holistic, compassionate way. “They treated my whole body…they helped my entire family,” Kristen says. ‘Things need to change’ Kristen is 35 years old. It’s been a year since her diagnosis, and her most-recent tests show no signs of cancer. Still, Kristen’s fight isn’t over. Now she’s on a new mission: supporting other people who are facing cancer and recovery. What’s motivating her to do that? Kristen says she knew fighting cancer would be hard. What she didn’t expect was for it to affect her career. While she was fighting for her life, Kristen’s unpaid leave ran out. The Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA, provides job security to workers who must attend to serious medical needs, of themselves or their dependents. FMLA requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave. Kristen was forced to fight her insurance provider, and she lost her position at the ‘As newlyweds, we fo