It’s important to be bold in life and to tell the truth. I’ve been bold my whole life, and I’ve had an amazing life. I’ve travelled the world, had a great career, launched several companies, done meaningful volunteer work, and started a beautiful family.
About eight years ago, I started a blog & podcast called Stand Up Speak Up with my teenage son Zach, who’s now 20.
Stand Up Speak Up is devoted to starting conversations about topics that we felt weren’t getting enough attention and sharing important truths.
The podcast tells the stories of those who have overcome huge ordeals in their lives. All the stories are based on resilience and perseverance.
While sharing these inspiring stories and teaching my young son about running a business, I was going through my own struggle. There was something wrong with my health – I knew this truth in my bones. But every doctor I saw told me that I was just fine. In fact, they identified it as a mental health issue. I was seeing a psychiatrist and taking anti-depressants and sleeping pills, but something was still very wrong.
Finally, in October of 2018, one day I couldn’t get out of bed. I went to Oakville Trafalgar Hospital in brutal pain. After a barrage of tests, I was taken up to the oncology floor. I didn’t even know what “oncology” meant. But that day I learned that it was the cancer floor and that I had cancer.
It had taken so long to identify because my particular cancer, which is breast cancer, is behind the bone, which you couldn’t see on a mammogram. I also had tumours on my bones that couldn’t be picked up on X-rays. When they did find the tumours and I was diagnosed, I was actually relieved because it meant it wasn’t all in my head.
I had so many tumours that they couldn’t do chemotherapy or a mastectomy. My treatment was focused on pain management.
I’m mostly bed-ridden now. I have a lot of pain in my bones and my back. There are days when I cry a lot. But I’m still here, and I have a lot to live for.
It’s hard to feel attractive and sexy when you’re in bed all day. But I made a promise to myself this year that I was going to try and get dressed every day and to make an effort to look nice. Doing my makeup and keeping my hair bleached blonde makes me feel more like myself. So when I heard about the Look Good Feel Better (LGFB) workshop, I was excited to attend.
I never really wore makeup before so I didn’t have a lot of experience with it. During the workshop, we learned basic makeup tips – about how eyebrows shape your face, eyeliner, lip liner, toner, and more. They were things I’d never really thought about before.
We also received makeup bags, and I felt like a kid in a candy shop opening mine. It was full of amazing stuff from great brands. I felt super loved when I received it.
Now I really celebrate makeup, and wear and enjoy it more. With cancer, you get so focused on your diagnosis and your treatment. There’s so much you can’t control. But one thing you can control is your face’s appearance. It feels good to feel like yourself again.
I will continue to live my life boldly, in stylish loungewear and fabulous makeup – even from bed. I’m really grateful to the LGFB team for doing what they do to support women.