PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Kristen Rogers said she refuses to live with deadlines even though the 28-year-old woman is battling cancer for the third time in her life.
The cancer now has spread to her brain, lungs, liver and bones, but what she’s focused on is her heart. She’s been given just 6 months to live, but her mission is to live her best life being her best self.
“We’re all kind of on our way out,” she told KOIN 6 News Tuesday. “Some of us just have a better idea of how long that is, and there’s no reason to waste any of that time.”
Kristen said she’s embracing what is her life. Cancer has been part of her life since she was 15 when she was diagnosed with nasopharyngeal cancer. It was a rare form of cancer for someone so young, but she beat it.
Then 2 years ago she found a lump in her breast.
“I was on the phone with Ian (Jacobs, her boyfriend) and I joked, I’m like, ‘It’s probably breast cancer with my luck,” she said.
But it was. Again she fought it. Then began the migraines.
The breast cancer returned as brain cancer and spread to other parts of her body. Once again, though, she’s fighting it and looking forward.
“I’ve been having whole brain radiation,” she said. Pointing to her pink wig, she said, “It’s not my natural hair color.”
She bought the pink wig when she was going through chemotherapy the first time. “I thought it would be fun.”
Kristen has other wigs, but laughs as she said, “Everybody loves the pink wig.”
She and her boyfriend of 9 years are planning to wrap up summer by getting married. They’re also traveling to get second and third opinions, explore treatments and to see the world.
“I’m not much for deadlines, so I’ll be here as long as I’m here and nobody can really tell me when that is, I’ve decided.”
What she and Ian are looking forward to the most is the journey they will begin in late summer. They will marry in August.
“He’s the only person I’ve ever loved. I knew when we met there was something special.”
She knows she may not have a lot of time left. “No matter how much time you have, use it. Use it well as best you can.”
Kristen said all she wants is a life without regrets, without second guessing, without fear. Friends, family and strangers are helping to support her mission through a GoFundMe page. The money raised, she said, will be used for travel, their wedding and medical expenses.
“Life can get in the way of the way you want to live it,” Kristen Rogers said. “I think if you can slow down and really look at what’s important you can really make your life worth a lot.”