Cathy Mills

Age at Diagnosis: 18 (1999)

How did you find out you were sick? What events led to the diagnosis?

I found out that I had leukemia when I went to the doctor because I had constant nose bleeds and I had a bruise on the bottom of my foot that I couldn’t explain. From there, my doctor sent me to the hospital to get blood work. Before I had time to get home my doctor had called to tell me to rush back to her office.

What year was it? What was your age at the time?

I was 18 in 1999, and in grade 12.

What was your diagnosis?

I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL).

What are your career goals?

She hopes to work in Health Care.

What were your first thoughts when diagnosed?

I thought of all the stuff I never had the chance to do.

How did your family react?

My family took it really hard especially my mom. She told me she would trade places with me if she could.

How did your friends react?

Some of my friends treated me the same but I also lost a few friends.

What did your treatment consist of?

Medical Side: My treatment consisted of chemo, radiation and bone marrow transplant. I also had to have transfusions and many different types of medication.

Non-Medical Side: My emotions at that time were mixed: sometimes I wanted to give up but most of the time I tried to stay positive. I knew I had to stay positive to beat it.

In which hospital(s) were you treated?

Health Sciences Centre, St. John’s.

What is your current medical status?

I am in remission now. It has been four years.

How is life different for you now post diagnosis (physically, emotionally, socially, spiritually)?

Life for me is pretty much the same as it was before I got sick. Little things have changed though: every four months I have to go for a check up. I can’t go out in the sun as much as I use to. But they are only minor adjustments.

What is/was the toughest part of your challenge?

The toughest part was when I found out that I had cancer. It took a toll on my family.

What is/was the best part of your challenge?

The best part of my challenge with cancer was knowing that I conquered it and when I stay positive I can conquer anything I put my mind to.

What really motivated you to keep going while you were sick?

The things that motivated me was my family, my friends, Geoff Eaton and wanting to fulfill my goals.

What lessons or messages have you taken away from your experience?

That life is short and you should live it while you can. And not to the little things in life or granted.

What are your thoughts and feelings about your illness now? How have they changed since before your diagnosis?

I can’t say that I am glad that I had cancer but I would never want to change the experience I had because it taught me a lot of lessons.

How are you connected with Young Adult Cancer?

I am connected to Young Adult Cancer because I met Geoff Eaton when we were both sick and even though Young Adult Cancer wasn’t started then, Geoff helped me though and anything that he does now I fully support. I have to say that I love Young Adult Cancer and I wish it had to be there when I was sick.