What was/is your diagnosis? Invasive Ductile Carcinoma (Breast Cancer)
What is/was your occupation? Senior Administrator
Your cancer experience:
How did you find out you were sick? What led to your diagnosis?
I was having a bath the day before my 26th birthday and felt a lump in my left breast. I spent my birthday (July 27) in my doctor’s office. The following month was filled with ultrasounds, appointments, and biopsies until my diagnosis on September 27, 2011 confirmed I had breast cancer in my left breast.
I had a full mastectomy of the left side on October 14, 2011—five days after I married the love of my life!
In which hospital are/were you treated? Peter Lougheed Centre
What were your first thoughts when diagnosed?
When I found my lump I had a feeling that there was something wrong. I had prepared myself for the diagnoses for a month. My first thought was “I can’t believe I have to tell my fiancé I have breast cancer.” He was always so positive and told me there was nothing wrong.
How did your family react?
My mom and dad got in the car and started to drive right away; they were at my house in four hours. My sisters were the hardest; my older sister was hysterical because we are so close and my youngest sister remained strong for me as I have full custody of her and raised her as my own child.
How did your friends react? Were you treated differently, or did things remain the same?
Many friends that I wasn’t that close to in the past stepped up to the plate like I never thought they would. We became extremely close and I learned to let some of my independence go and rely on them a little more every day. Other friends that I thought were my best friends slowly disappeared.
What did your treatment consist of?
A full mastectomy of the left side followed by four cycles of DC chemotherapy. Receiving chemo every 21 days for four cycles. I will complete chemo on January 17, 2012.
I had my days where I felt I was going to fall but I would pick myself back up again, remember what I wanted the outcomes of my treatment to be and what I want out of life, and continue to smile through my journey and know that I will kick cancer in the ass.
What is your current medical status?
As there was no spreading to the lymph nodes and my bone scan was clear, I am cancer free at this moment and have received one round of chemotherapy with three more to go.
How is life different for you now post diagnosis?
I will never look at others in the same way again; there is so much more to people than you realize and by dismissing the little things in life, you will never fully get to know someone. I take it one day at a time, love my husband and family to the fullest and don’t let any bullshit enter my life; there is no time for it. Embrace the happiness and let go of the negativity.
What is the toughest part of your challenge?
The toughest part of my journey is realizing that people who I thought would be there for me really weren’t in the long run, and not only for myself, but some of my husband’s friends seemed to disappear as well.
What was the best lesson you took away from your challenge?
Let the little things in life slide. Love everyone in your life to the fullest, embrace all happiness and positivity, and let yourself heal by thinking healing thoughts.
What really motivates you to keep going while you are sick?
I believe that comes from within; it is ultimately you that will keep yourself going. Stay strong and carry on! My biggest motivator was humor, I laughed every day whether it be making fun of myself or watching a comedy show, I found some source of laughter daily!
What are your thoughts and feelings about your illness now? How have they changed since before your diagnosis?
At the age of 26 you never think about getting diagnosed with breast cancer. My thoughts on my diagnosis have not changed my life however they have altered it in a way that I realize my fullest potential—the love I have within—and how I can utilize it all.
Did you attend any support groups during your challenge?
I visited Wellspring in Calgary quite often. I would go there for Tuesday tea and visit the library to take out books. Wellspring is mainly older ladies, however, as I am an old soul I always enjoyed visiting with them and hearing their stories. Many of these women were long time survivors and that was always good for me to hear.
How are you connected with Young Adult Cancer Canada?
I found YACC through Google search.
You can learn more about Beige on her blog, From Beige To Pink