Kristine Rivera, DO
I was born and raised in Omaha, NE and received my B.A. in biology and English Literature (yes…it is actually grammatically correct to use a lower case "b" in biology :)) from Hastings College in Hastings, NE. I met my husband, Carlos, on the Track &Cross Country teams while at Hastings. I went to medical school at Des Moines University, Osteopathic Medical Center in Des Moines, IA.
I completed my Family Medicine Residency at Southern Colorado Family Medicine/St. Mary-Corwin Medical Center in Pueblo, CO. I became Board Certified in Family Medicine in 2004. I worked at the Pueblo Community Health Center serving primarily un-insured and under-insured patients in Pueblo from 2004-2007. I joined a private practice, University Family Medicine Center, in 2008.
I am a 3-1/2 year breast cancer survivor. My initial diagnosis was DCIS (the earliest stage), but with further evaluation and surgery, it was discovered that I actually had stage III disease at 33 years old. I completed bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction and bilateral axillary dissection, chemotherapy, herceptin treatments, and radiation. I include all of this only because it has had a profound effect on my perspective as a health care provider, to have gone through so much in the role of patient. I also realize how lucky I am to benefit from recent research and break-through medications, such as herceptin, it has provided.
My husband Carlos and I have been married for 10 years. We have two young daughters, ages 8 and 5 who are very active and curious and bring us much joy! We enjoy camping, hiking, swimming, and attending musicals and concerts with them. My husband and I enjoy running and riding bikes with our kids. We are members of Christ the King Catholic Church, and feel very fortunate to have Faith in our lives.
I grew up in a big crazy family with 6 kids (picture the movie: "The Family Stone"). My Dad died in August 2010 from bladder cancer/COPD. My Mother is also a breast cancer survivor, and will be 5 years free of disease in October of this year. She has been an inspiration to me in many ways. My Mother-in-Law is recovering from head and neck cancer, so finding better cures and treatments for all types of cancer is very important to me.
I believe in taking what I've learned in my professional and personal experiences and using it to be a better physician, mother, wife, and person. I have learned that cancer affects not only the person with the disease, but their entire family, and I try to address this with my patients and do a lot of educating. I understand that less than 10 years ago, I would have had a poor prognosis. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of Dr. Dennis Slamon, and other researchers, the medication Herceptin has changed the lives and prognosis for thousands of women/men. It's these kind of break throughs that we need to keep striving for. I will never be a researcher, but I know that many individuals who come together and bring their passion and talents for a common cause are extremely powerful. I have three sisters, two daughters, and four nieces…I'm fighting for them and all those who love them, so that they will never have to physically experience what I have. The "gift" of my experience has been a greater appreciation for life and all that I have, and enjoying it as much as I can.