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Welcome back to our seventeenth
consecutive year of Kayaking for Cancer!
My life has changed.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer on May 18, 2017 after finding a lump. I had no other symptoms, in fact, I am a regular hiker and cyclist with very good energy. I am an active 53 year old woman with a loving husband and adult daughter.
I am, by nature, a very positive person, which is not to say I haven't had hardships in my life; but I choose to see the good and joy in ever-day moments, as well as the people that come with it. So, naturally, upon receiving my diagnosis, I thought to myself "I am healthy" and "This is only temporary".
I have completed two of six rounds of chemo at the Winchester District Memorial Hospital, which will be followed by 21 days of radiation at the Ottawa Cancer Centre, then five years of hormone therapy. My breast cancer and lymph node removal was conducted by the skilled hands of Dr. Blakslee in Winchester on May 29, 2017. I cannot imagine being in his position and having to deliver this news to a patient, but he did so with professionalism, tact and compassion. He and his staff, specifically Diane, have demonstrated the utmost sensitivity in patient care during my journey. We are also fortunate enough to have the ongoing care of the Bayshore Clinic right in the Winchester Hospital. These women have been amazing in their skills and compassion.
Our journey has just begun, and I have no idea what my new normal will be once treatment is complete and my body cells rebuild. While the medical team of Dr. Clemons and Dr. Caudrelier take care of my treatments, my daily purpose is to take care of my personal well being, my spiritual health, and my overall outlook and gratitude for the numerous gifts that life has to offer every day. I choose to see this challenge as a chance to redirect my energy towards other things I want to do; making the important things important, and the unimportant things unimportant. Now that I am off work, I am afforded much needed quiet moments. I was able to come to the spiritual declaration during these quiet moments: "God has already prepared everything necessary for me to be successful in this new challenge".
When I was diagnosed, I felt such ease reaching out to my friends and family for their powerful support and love. With my support team beside me, I can walk this journey with the assurance of being surrounded by these positive and loving people. The gifts of friendship, family and faith during this time have been felt more deeply and my sense of appreciation has been heightened. A call, a text, a visit, a meal, or a Kayaking for Cancer fundraiser are all so meaningful, and I feel these gifts to my core.
My life has changed, and it's going to be ok.