A Gift - By Ambassador Kristen

A Gift - By Ambassador Kristen
Beth Millner Jewelry Ambassador Kristen with friends and family

 

Dear Loved Ones,

I had to get something off my chest earlier this year, literally, and it wasn’t anything you’d describe as super fun.


I recently had a lumpectomy.


But before you have that “oh, you poor dear!” reaction, please allow me to share with you why I’m convinced that getting breast cancer was a gift, and there’s no talking me out of it. 

Beth Millner Jewelry Ambassador Kristen battling breast cancer

 

First, I caught it early, in my annual mammogram. So if you or someone you love is at that age, please please please call for that screening appointment today! I can’t stress how much this whole thing probably sucked less because timing is everything. And second, I have had the best doctors at Mayo Clinic and locally at OSF in Escanaba to treat me. So if you know a doctor or nurse or lab tech or hospital administration person, go give them a hug from me, right now. 

Beth Millner Jewelry Ambassador Kristen battling breast cancer

Even before I “caught cancer,” I’d always marveled at what a unique perspective a cancer patient must have. Because once you realize, somewhat abruptly, that we really don’t have an infinite amount of time on this earth, it’s like you’ve been given a magical, special lens that magnifies what’s important in your life. And that, to me, is a beautiful gift. It’s like somehow your food tastes better, sunsets are more brilliant, and hugs from your loved ones are infused with a little extra something that makes them more meaningful. It’s like you have had a brush with heaven, and an angel has painted on your heart. 

Beth Millner Jewelry Ambassador Kristen with friends and family

And since I brought up timing earlier, maybe that angel with a paintbrush wanted me to have a little extra beauty in my life this summer. Or maybe my angels knew I’m always up for a challenge. Either way, before all this crazy happened this year - with pokings and proddings and drilling holes in my sternum and surgeries and chemo drugs - I’d applied to be a BMJ ambassador this summer. And wouldn’t you know it, I was accepted. Divine timing, perhaps?

Beth Millner Jewelry Ambassador Kristen wearing a one-of-a-kind pendant

This is not my first rodeo as an ambassador. I’ve been a fan of Beth’s jewelry since before she got her storefront in Marquette, and I’ve been one of her biggest fans since even before ambassadors were a thing. My first gig was smack dab in the middle of the pandemic, and I’d always felt that I didn’t get to do 100% of the things I’d wanted to do to promote this business, so I’d wanted the chance for a do-over. Let’s face it - these jewelry pieces are amazeballs! They’re nature-inspired, eco-friendly, so unique, and just plain breathtaking. I have stopped wearing most other jewelry and sport almost exclusively BMJ, because it’s like I’m taking a little piece of the UP or the outdoors with me wherever I go. My pieces have traveled to Croatia, Antigua and Barbuda, Turks and Caicos, Idaho/Montana, and on a gazillion trails in the Hiawatha National Forest, and that’s just since I started calling myself an ambassador a couple years ago.

Beth Millner Jewelry Ambassador Kristen with Dreamscapes coloring book

I’ll likely have to slow down this summer, with needing a weekly dose of chemotherapy, but I think this is also a gift. It’ll give me more time to reflect on and appreciate those things that are most important: people, and time. Not hair that might fall out. That’ll most definitely grow back. 

Beth Millner Jewelry Ambassador Kristen's new haircut

As a matter of fact, to prepare myself mentally in case that happens, I’ve already chopped most of it off. Beth Millner Jewelry was with me when I did it, too, as were my friends and family. I recently donated over a foot of my hair to the Children With Hair Loss non-profit org, so win-win! But since my hair is a big part of my identity, and because I felt like I needed an extra dose of something pretty, that’s when I also unboxed my ambassador gifts from Beth Millner. My hairdresser friend Maegan is a genius and gave me a super cute shorter style, and I have to say that I didn’t think it was possible to feel any prettier until I tried on some of those jewelry gifts. Another win-win! You can watch my haircut video here and my unboxing video here

Beth Millner Jewelry Ambassador Kristen battling breast cancer

So for the next twelve weeks, to ensure that my treatments “suck less,” I plan on wearing a different BMJ piece for all the doctors and nurses to oooh and aaah over. Last week I wore a bumblebee pendant, to remind myself to “bee positive,” and this week, the ladies in the lab told me that it was their favorite so far. Bet they can’t wait to see what I’m wearing next week! 

Beth Millner Jewelry Ambassador Kristen battling breast cancer

I never realized until I outed myself about having cancer, just how many of us there are, walking around like regular people (it’s kind of hard to see from the outside when an angel paints on your heart). It’s both staggering and encouraging! It’s so nice to know that I’m not inventing the wheel for treatment and that so many folks have walked this path already. I also have come to learn that I’ll walk it my own way, too, because everyone’s diagnosis and experience is different. But I’ve always wished that we could come up with a secret handshake or code word or tattoo or something so that we recognize each other. It would be so great to give someone a silent fist bump in line at the grocery store! I mean, if people can come up with 13.1 and 26.2 stickers and t-shirts for completing a marathon, you’d think we could come up with a shout-out to mark our own journeys, right? 

Beth Millner Jewelry Ambassador Kristen wearing Datolite Honeybee Wonderland pendant

 

Maybe I’ll take on that challenge next, to design my own Beth Millner piece to let the world know that I, too, took on this journey and completed it. Watch out world, I’m putting on my running shoes and bib number, and I’m gonna rock this marathon!


Be happy, be well, and hug your loved ones today. 

Kris G