When mother and daughter face cancer to…


When mother and daughter face cancer together

Dec. 13, 2019 | by Marsha Roc-Malychenkova


Diagnosed with cancer one month apart from each other, Marie-Paule, and Mélissa find their strength in each other.


Last May, Marie-Paule was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at the age of 64. It came as a shock - she was the first person diagnosed with cancer in her family. Against all odds, her 30-year-old daughter Mélissa was diagnosed with breast cancer just weeks later.


When Melissa found a lump in her breast, she was very hesitant to tell her mother, who just had her surgery. “I really did not want my mother to worry about me until we knew what it was.” After chatting with her sister, she finally decided to tell her mum before getting the results of her test.


 With the shock of a second diagnosis  just a few weeks apart, there was a short moment of anger, tears, fears and frustration.  Questions such as,  “Why is this happening to us? How are we going to handle two cancers at the same time while living together?” were running through both their minds.


What some might view as a tragedy, the mother and daughter have decided to view as a source of strength. 


“Not a lot of people get to say that they’re fighting this thing at the same time as their mother. Together, we are climbing the mountain,” says Mélissa.


Marie-Paule and her daughter bonded even more through this journey. To them, living in the same house is the best thing that could happen. They consider that having been diagnosed at the same time as a gift, as they are able to go through the experience together..


 “As a mother, it’s tough to see your child suffering, but I understand her because we have similar pain and side effects. It’s really hard to see my daughter like that, but we support each other.”


“I could have never imagined having a bond like this  with my mother. We truly feel the same pains, physically and emotionally. This bond is unbelievable, we are here for each other in a way no one else could.”


Along with having each other and being surrounded by amazing friends and family, Marie-Paule and Melissa have an inspiring strength that they share – a positive mindset.


“I have overcome a lot in the last few years, but I have never felt as  courageous in my entire life as I am today,” says Mélissa. “Cancer is nothing anyone wants to deal with, but looking at it with a positive mindset makes life more enjoyable.  I can’t change this diagnosis, but I can fight with treatments and a good attitude.”


Both very honest, they admit that some days are harder and that it can be a rollercoaster of emotions.  They share tears and difficult moments but, “we laugh more than we cry,” adds Marie-Paule. “The key is to stay positive, to live your life day by day, appreciate every single moment and live in the moment.


Marie-Paule and Melissa are aware that not everyone has someone in their life who absolutely understands what they are going through and this is one of the reasons why they found that the LGFB workshop was so important.


“We received a lot of support from LGFB and I can only imagine how important this is for a woman who doesn’t have the kind of circle of care that we have,” says Marie-Paule.


“The energy in the room was amazing – it was a safe environment, very comfortable and we had a great time with my mother and my sister Annie”, adds Mélissa.


They loved all the tips and techniques they were shown by the volunteers and would recommend every woman facing cancer attend a workshop – 100%.


“We left feeling beautiful and it really lifted our spirits,” they both agree. “It is amazing to have a resource like LGFB because we all deserve this time to take care of ourselves.”


Marie-Paule and Melissa both continue to go through their own individual cancer experiences together, keeping in mind that, “nothing is ever permanent and when a chapter is done, a new one starts.”


This holiday season, you can do something beautiful for women facing cancer, like Melissa and Marie-Paule, by making a gift to Look Good Feel Better. Until December 31st, Mary Kay Cosmetics Ltd. will match all donations, doubling the impact of your gift and bringing the power of LGFB to even more women.


Double your impact: lgfb.ca/donate