Some of our most impactful journeys start at the most mundane of times. I was relaxing on the couch watching t.v. when I decided it was the perfect time to give myself a self-exam. While thinking there was no way I was going to feel a pea-sized lump…I felt it. It was right there, and I couldn’t ignore it.
After seeing my doctor and being sent for a mammogram, CT scan, MRI, and bone scan, it was confirmed to be breast cancer. Well, to be fair, they called on December 23rd and I missed the call. And since their offices were closed for the holidays, I anxiously awaited the results until January 2020. I was devastated; I cried knowing it was going to be a long road ahead.
I was able to attend a few chemotherapy sessions before COVID reared its head and changed the course of the world, the way we interact, and how cancer patients receive care. Prior to being diagnosed, I lived in Chilliwack, British Columbia but moved a few towns over to Abbotsford to receive treatment. Typically, there is a service that can pick you up and drop you off for treatment but due to COVID, they could not go past Abbottsford. Without moving, it would take me over two hours by bus! While we can often empathize with people when they are diagnosed with cancer, there are a lot of additional hurdles and barriers to receiving care—and trust me when I say COVID has impacted that level of care!
Fortunately, my oncology team were incredibly caring and empathetic professionals and I felt very lucky to be looked after so well during a time when my anxiety levels were so high. During a time of lockdown and restricted in-person connection, they went the extra mile and played a huge role in filling that gap. From treating the cancer to helping me fill out all the paperwork that comes along with cancer, to even connecting me with the LGFB workshops, I felt so well taken care of.
When I was told about the online workshops, I immediately signed up for as many workshops as possible! I didn’t know what to expect, but it was nice to see other women who might be dealing with something similar to me. The whole experience was a positive one. I found the volunteers to be great at understanding what we felt while making the workshops fun and engaging. I even had an Oprah a-ha moment when I finally got the right technique to tying a headscarf down! I couldn’t wear wigs so it was great to find alternatives.
Looking back at my cancer journey a few months out of treatment, there were some moments that were tough—like moving, losing my hair, the weight gain—but there was also a lot of great moments—like my wonderful care team and the Look Good Feel Better workshops. While I wait for the world to return back to normal and for my eyelashes to grow back, I have a lot of gratitude that this journey was met with some fantastic people that made it easier.