Kristi Seehafer, a member of our first-violin section, is celebrating an important milestone – the 5-year anniversary since her diagnosis with Stage 4 Breast Cancer. During her initial surgery, the doctors learned that the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes. Only during her initial PET scan (pre-chemotherapy), did they find that the cancer had spread to her bones, and was Stage 4.
Kristi wants people to know that the most important lesson she learned is to listen to your own body. Her cancer was discovered only four months after a normal mammogram. She also wants people to know that a cancer diagnosis, even Stage 4, is not a death sentence. Kristi is now considered cancer free, and will return to normal (rather than diagnostic) mammograms next year.
Now, she has returned to the exercise she loves most – running. Kristi had planned to run her first full marathon just after her initial surgery. Although she walked a half marathon one month after finishing chemotherapy, it has taken this long to recover from neuropathy and the effects of treatment.
She has come full circle, running 100 miles each month, belongs to the Fifty States half-marathon Club, and values her friendships there. (Although she has run full marathons, she prefers half marathons, saying they are “more fun.”).Her goal is to run a half marathon in all 50 states. She just finished her sixth half marathon in the Club, and recently participated in five half marathons in five days in five states (the New England Challenge). Another running goal is to run an event with her two nieces, one of whom is already a runner.
Kristi credits her current healthiness to running, a dietary supplement she now takes, and her diet, which stresses alkalinity through eating high-alkaline foods like vegetables, while limiting acidic foods such as meat, wheat, sugar, and alcohol. She stresses that anyone can become healthy, even with a serious health issue.
Kristi grew up in Wausau, WI and during high school played piano in her brother’s polka band, often getting up after late Saturday-night wedding gigs for her other job, singing at a Christian Scientist Church (no, she was not a Christian Scientist). She attended Concordia College, beginning as a voice major, then switching to violin. While at Concordia, she played in the Fargo-Morehead Symphony and Opera.
The first professional orchestra concert she attended – Kenneth Schermerhorn conducting the Milwaukee Symphony – made her realize her love for playing violin in a symphony orchestra. After living life for several years, she returned to college, receiving her Masters of Music from Northwestern. It was a challenge being older than the other students, but obviously Kristi thrives on challenge.
Her goals now are to continue running, and eventually figure out what to do when she retires.
Kristi has a very enlightening blog at http://kristiseehafer.com/