I’m Karen Ringleb and I’m 49 years old. I live in Hampton and have been married to my best friend, Harold, for 29 years this past July 2nd. I am employed by Franklin Rural Electric Cooperative in Hampton as the office manager/accountant and have worked there for 28 years. My husband is employed at Phelps Implement as a parts man. We are the parents of 3 children: Whitney (21), Brady (19), and Courtney (14). My family is very important to me and I have enjoyed watching my kids participate in sporting events, sing, play their instruments, and be active in their school/community.
December 22, 2016, started my cancer journey when I went in for my yearly checkup and my doctor said she felt a lump. I had a mammogram, ultrasound, biopsy and then the dreaded phone call came on January 3, 2017, telling me the biopsy was positive for cancer. I had Stage 2A, Grade 1, Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. Those words took the “wind out of my sail”. I called my husband, stopped and told my daughter at the middle school, told my son at home and had to tell my oldest on the phone which was probably the hardest thing to do since I could not give her a hug to let her know that “I’ve got this and we plan to kick cancers butt together as a family”. We took the rest of the day off so we could try to make sense of all of this and to tell my dad and the rest of my family. I knew I had to win this war against cancer, battle by battle, because as I have said so many times lately…I don’t have time to be sick. Our son’s senior year, our youngest was getting confirmed, we started remodeling parts of our house and I have a full-time job. I had a double mastectomy on Feb. 10th with immediate reconstruction. On March 10th, I got an infection and was treated for four weeks with IV antibiotics. On April 12th, I began chemotherapy and I will receive a total of 16 treatments when done. After chemotherapy, I will receive 5 weeks of radiation. I have handled most of my treatments well except for being tired and nauseated.
I’m truly humbled by all the love, gifts, and support our family has received from our community, friends, church, employers, coworkers, extended family, and those I don’t even know that well. It is amazing how many people have been affected by cancer and I recently learned of so many more that just received the devastating news. I plan on being one of those people who fought the war and won! I plan to be around for a long time so I can grow old with my husband, someday enjoy grandkids, finish remodeling our house and go on an Alaskan Cruise. I did not plan to get cancer but I do plan to beat it! I am so thankful to my employer, Franklin Rural Electric Cooperative, MHH Sponsors, and my coworkers and directors for making this possible. Thank you, My Happy Haven, for doing this for me. Having somewhere to relax after my treatments will be wonderful, plus having someone else paint our newly remodeled bedroom makes me sooooo happy.