Motivational Humorist Speaker
Kim loves to tell stories. She enlightens, challenges and motivates people to look at their imperfections and see themselves as fabulous children – no matter their age! She has inspired thousands of people to look at life as a series of celebrations, encouraging with spontaneity and humor. Kim engages her audiences by delivering life‐changing, self‐empowering messages.
Well‐known for her entertaining and dynamic delivery, Kim often shares real life stories sprinkled with a song or two.
Kim has enjoyed numerous roles over the years. She is a breast cancer survivor, singer, songwriter, seamstress, quilter and friend/fund-raiser for various organizations. However, the roles that have brought her the most joy and reward are that of wife to her pastor husband, Dave and mother to Isaac, Margot, Lucas and Abram (though standing ovations are few and far between for the mom-wife gig). The Wagners are presently empty-nesters with three dogs, Gimli, Wilson and Regge who determine their daily agenda.
July 2, 2013
Bilateral Mastectomy two years ago
Breast Cancer. I was dreaming. “What does it look like?” I asked. “It looks like a bitch, ” the doctor said.
“A bitch? The cancer looks like a bitch. What does that mean?”
“It means,” he chose his words deliberately, “it could kill you.”
The dream was real; my cancer was ugly. I was 50 years old. I had three month old grandson. My initial fear was that I would not have enough time with him. I rationalized. What would be “enough” time? Five years? Ten or twenty years? Surely, our all-loving, gracious Heavenly Father would allow me enough time, whatever that looked like from his perspective.
Besides Leo, there was Isaac. Isaac had not yet proposed to Melissa. It was only a matter of time. Would I be here to participate in their wedding? If I wasn’t, would they miss me? Would they raise their wine glasses and say, “She should have made it to this party, but the bitch took her…”
I read everything I could get my hands on: diagnostic imaging reports, lab reports, pathology reports, surgical reports. Everything. I wanted to know everything.
On April 14, 2011 Radiologist, William F. Wosick, noted in his report, “Suspicious abnormality.Two dominant (1.9 cm and 4.0 cm) cysts – lower/outer quadrant of right breast – with an adjacent incompletely circumscribed 13 mm non-cystic nodule or mass – indeterminate.” When I read it, I knew exactly what it was. Odd, they didn’t ask me. I would have gladly explained it in comprehendible terms. Quite simply, what he was looking at was a bitch.
Surgical biopsy on June 8th determined the mass (bitch) to be a 5.5 cm cancerous tumor. No clean margins. On July 1, 8 of 11 lymph nodes were cancerous. But, according to the surgical report from stelar breast surgeon, Dr. Michael Bouton, “Estimated blood loss for the procedures was 100 ml. No complications. Sponge and instrument counts were correct. She was transferred to recovery room in stable condition.”
Breast-less, but stable. Thank God all the sponges were accounted for.
I was released from the hospital less than 24 hours after having a bilateral mastectomy. The girls were gone. Dr. Bouton made his Saturday morning rounds and stopped in to unwind the supportive Ace wrap and to assure me, “things will be different now.” He was very kind. After removing the wrap he asked if I wanted time to be “alone”. For what? To ponder how “different” things were now that the breasts that nursed four babies were in the lab, floating in trays of formaldehyde?
Yes, things were slightly different. My chest had two eight inch wounds with Steri-Strips. I asked Dr. Bouton how the Ace wrap was applied during surgery. He explained that they sit the patient up and proceed to wrap up the chest. The visual I had was not attractive. I wanted to apologize if I drooled or gagged on the intubating tube as they sat me up and wrapped me up to resemble a mummy. I said nothing.
Two years ago today I returned home with my narcotic pain reliever, OxyContin (oxycodone). I was determined to gain back my strength and heal. I was anxious to participate in little Leo’s first, tenth, and beyond…birthday parties. I wanted to hear Isaac speak affirming vows of promise to his beloved, Melissa.
Last night, Dave surprised me with three red roses and a hand-written card saying:
To my dearest Kim,
You made it! Two years and counting.
Today marks the two year anniversary of your surgery. I am so glad that you are still around.
You are a joy to be with. You are a very beautiful, talented and caring person.
I am the luckiest man to have you as my wife, my friend and my companion.
I hope we have many, many more years together.
I will love you always!
I plan to keep this dear soul, Dave, around. He is a constant in my life when many other things have gone haywire.
June 17, 2013
Father’s Day 2013
Happy Father’s Day, Dad. I am one day late, but I’m writing and thinking of you, none the less.
It’s like this every year around the third Sunday in June. When so many search for the perfect Hallmark card to give to his/her father, I find myself conjuring up questions to ask – if we were given a bit of time together.
You died when I was 26 years old. For the better half of my life, I have been fatherless.
The picture above is of the two of us when I was one and you were 43 years old. Incidentally, if I neglected to tell you, I loved having you for my daddy. You were strong, brave, honest, wise (actually brilliant), gentle, a devoted Christian and my mother’s lover. What have I missed?
Gifted with a sense of humor? Understanding? Accepting? Loving? Also, near the end of your life, blind, but with better vision than many sighted people have.
Thank you for walking me down the aisle as a 21 year old bride in 1981. You knew I was pregnant. I was keenly aware that I had disappointed my parents terribly. Yet, you stood beside me, took my arm in yours and walked me down the aisle to a sweet soul standing at the altar waiting. I recall kissing your cheek and you passed my hand off into Dave’s hand. Such a simple gesture.
You had big hands. Your nails were normally dirty. You were a farmer and worked hard. In your hands you held baby kittens and castrated pigs (not at the same time, thankfully). I learned that your hands gave well-deserved spankings and could wipe tears off a filthy face. As a child, I loved it when you held my small hand in yours. I was invincible; I had nothing to fear.
About the time I realized how wise you were, you died. How sneaky was that?
We had two children at the time you moved into your heavenly mansion. Isaac was four, Margot three. They don’t have many recollections of you. Margot (below) remembers sitting on your lap. Perhaps she remembers how large your hands were. If not, I will remind her, “Grandpa Randy adored you.”
Dad, you won’t believe this – but I have four kids that love education and are brilliant – just like their grandfather. Isaac (who I was carrying at the altar) received his doctorate in Microbiology. Dr. Isaac David Wagner! The others are also pursuing advanced degrees. The genetic makeup of my children was obviously influenced by their grandfather.
Dad, thank you. I miss you. I love you. Along the way, I hope I made you proud.
Jun 15, 2013
My firstborn turns 31
I blinked. Have 31 years already passed by? Today our eldest, Isaac David Wagner, turns 31.
My first pregnancy.
It felt like it might never end.
We lived through the coldest, most brutal Minnesota winter that I had known to date.
Dave and I were madly in love and couldn’t believe we actually had created something as marvelously mysterious as a baby.
Cold days weren’t quite so bad as newly married lovers.
The books I read mentioned that hot tubs should be avoided during pregnancy.
Due to the frigid temps, I spent plenty of time in blistering hot bathtubs, praying my baby would not be born with shriveled fingers.
June 15, 1982
I awoke to a severe low backache. Went to the hospital only to be sent home – nothing was happening quickly.
Ended up back there at 1:30pm. Water broke at 6pm.
David disappeared for 30 minutes to get a sandwich – which happened just as contractions hit hard. I was torqued that he could walk away from the pain and I was stuck with it. “Breathe,” They kept repeating. Really?
Isaac was delivered by Dr. Rolf Hanson at Riverview Hospital in Crookston, Minnesota at 9:51pm. Long day.
He was beautiful: wrinkly and lovely: 7 lbs, 21 ½ inches. I couldn’t keep my eyes off of him. I never knew I could love another being with such intensity.
31 years later. Isaac is married to a fabulous woman, Melissa. He has his PhD in Microbiology. Lives in Denver. Loves to hike and ride bike.
Am I proud? A bit.
I remember a few vivid details of Isaac being small. But, I recall more so all the moments of being so proud to be his mother.
An awesome man that I welcomed into my arms 31 years ago, my sweet Isaac.