Jarrid Rich

Jarrid RichDiagnosis: Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Sarcoma.

Education: Studied just briefly at Mount Royal University in Calgary just prior to  my diagnoses.

Career goals: To work in the public sector, either in law or social work. Before my diagnosis, I worked with developmentally disabled adults for seven years, taking care of them and assisting with their daily routines and interaction with the community.

Your cancer story

I woke up one morning in spring of 2008 with a bump the size of a quarter on my right clavicle. It stopped hurting after a day and I just left it thinking it was an infected zit or boil. It started to grow so I then went to a doctor who confirmed my suspicions and gave me antibiotics to get rid of it. The antibiotics didn’t work–twice in a row–so I sought another doctor’s opinion and was immediately sent to a specialist.

The tumour was cut out in October 2009 after growing to the size of my fist. The biopsy results came back inconclusive, but a month and a half later a follow up CT showed shadows in my lungs. By may of 2010 I was undergoing open lung surgery to remove the multiple tumours growing there. I was just recovering from my surgery in August 2010 when I was told another CT scan showed more tumours growing in my lungs. I have been awaiting chemo since.

At the beginning of my diagnosis I had just began university, and had to stop because of my illness and the uncertainty of how it will progress.

When first diagnosed, after the biopsy results from my lung surgery, I was shocked, but said, “nothing in my own body is going to work against me, or it will get the boot!”

The toughest part of being diagnosed isn’t dealing with me and being sick, it’s trying to explain to my five-year-old son and eight-year-old daughter that their daddy is sick, and that this could possibly shorten my time with them. My kids are also what keeps me going, I am determined to be there for ALL the important milestones they will achieve.

My friends and family are very supportive and are always there for me when I need them, being very understanding and caring. I haven’t ever attended a support group, but plan on it very soon. The best lesson I have learned from this experience is you can’t be afraid of the things you can’t control; instead, embrace them and reap the benefits.

I believe everything happens for a reason. What that reason is, no one really knows, but there is one. Always.