At the young age of 30, I never thought I’d have to hear the words, “you have breast cancer” - they sure do resonate with you. I had been playing soccer in February of 2018 when I got elbowed in my left breast. Instantly, I felt a lump and assumed it had just been a cyst that had formed because of the trauma to the area. This was my conclusion based on some Googling I had done (please DO not under any circumstances Google something before going to get it checked out!).
Over the next couple of months, this lump that I had got larger and harder to a point where it actually started to hurt. That is when I finally went to the hospital to get it checked out (after a friend dragged me to the hospital). I had an ultrasound, mammogram and biopsy done all within a few hours and by the end of that week, I heard that dreaded word: “cancer.”
I found out the following week after some more testing that it was stage 3 and that I would have to start off my process by doing 8 rounds of chemo to shrink it so that they had a more definitive border for removing it. Thankfully, I had what’s called a full response to the chemo and it completely removed the tumour. That being said, given my age and aggressiveness of the type of cancer (triple negative) they recommended a bilateral mastectomy and 25 rounds of radiation. It’s still a long process but the power of positivity has got me through a lot! Honestly they say it’s more than half of the battle and I now totally believe it! I started radiation on November 15th and will finish just in time to relax over the Christmas holidays. Let’s just say that it’s been the longest year of my life and I’ll be happy when 2018 comes to an end.
Tribute to my boobs:
I’m thankful for the time we had and I always really enjoyed you but it was time for you to leave me as I did not want this ‘thing’ coming back to haunt me. Sionara, it’s been a slice (literally and figuratively)!
Tribute to my family:
I’m thankful for my family - I couldn’t have done this without my parents. They were both officially retired as of 2017 so they moved to Toronto for the summer from Sault Ste. Marie to look after me while I underwent chemo treatment and to take care of me post surgery.
Tribute to St. Joes:
I’m thankful for my lovely team of physicians and nurses at St. Joseph’s Health Centre - you all helped me battle this and I’m so grateful, you have no idea!
Tribute to friends:
I’m thankful for my friends (old and new)! - Hearing the experiences of other women going through this ‘thing’ definitely helped me and I’ve made some life long friends because of it. A family friend gave up his condo to us for the summer to make it easier to work and to give my parents a place to stay while away from their home. Thank you to my dear friend Kelly who dragged me to the hospital and the rest of you who have comforted me through all of this jazz.
Tribute to Look Good Feel Better:
I’m thankful for the Look Good Feel Better program - one of the hardest parts was losing my hair, eyebrows and eyelashes and they helped me get through this rough patch by teaching me how to do my makeup and find some nice head wraps. I even made a great friend through this program!
Tribute to Berkley Canada:
I’m thankful for my work family at Berkley - they have no doubt been the best place to work at and this experience that I’ve gone though has proven me correct time and time again. They really do care about their staff and I couldn’t be more grateful for that.
Let’s see what 2019 has in store.