Name: Josh Lamothe
City: Edmonton, AB
Who did you support with cancer?
My amazing wife, Mandy.
What was their diagnosis?
Papillary thyroid cancer When was it? March 2014
What is something you’ve done that you’re really proud of?
Working my way up from the bottom to become the Regional Chef for the restaurant group I work for.
What is a top item on your life to do list?
Attend the World Cup Final.
What are your hobbies?
Participating in fantasy football/baseball leagues, DJing, watching as many movies as possible, cooking.
Life after cancer
How did you find out about Mandy’s cancer?
Mandy told me in person immediately following her appointment with the doctor who diagnosed her.
What were your first thoughts when you found out about her diagnosis?
That I would do whatever Mandy needed me to do to help her.
How is life different for you post diagnosis?
I’m a lot more aware of my own health and wellbeing knowing how quickly things developed for Mandy. I take fewer things for granted, focusing on the things I enjoy both by myself and with Mandy.
Did you attend any treatments with her? What was your experience like?
I attended each treatment and procedure Mandy underwent. I was very grateful for the work of the health care staff from both a physical and mental wellness perspective for all of the things that they tried to do and did do to help Mandy’s outlook. They didn’t always tell us what we wanted to hear but there always seemed to be sincerity and empathy in the ways they interacted with us.
How did you feel during the treatment phase?
I have a natural calmness in my day-to-day life and I tried to maintain that calm, laid back attitude as I felt it would benefit Mandy to not change my demeanor, though I was often worried.
What major challenges did your YACCer face? How did you support her?
One of the biggest challenges from an emotional standpoint would probably be her own perception that she might never be healthy again or as strong as she once was. I supported her by listening to her as best I could, being a sounding board, and only interjecting with advice or opinions when she wanted it.
I also had to overcome the occasional feeling that I was being selfish for thinking at times about how her cancer affected me. It took me some time to realize that mental self-care would make me a better supporter during and after Mandy’s treatments.
How did your YACCer’s diagnosis change or affect your life?
It created some urgency in terms of achieving some personal life goals (like getting married to her) as well as approaching life with a softer touch, prioritizing the good and casting aside the negative.
What was the hardest thing about adjusting to life after someone close to you was diagnosed with cancer?
My inability to control the situation and make it better simply by wishing it were better (clearly not how it works).
Did you feel isolated from your peers? I did not feel isolated as I was fortunate enough to have a strong group of concerned and supportive friends, family, and co-workers.
Resources and recommendations
Were there any resources you used to help you cope with supporting someone with cancer?
Prior to being made aware of YACC, I mostly just reached out to people that I knew had had similar experiences (though there weren’t a lot).
What lessons or messages have you taken away from your experience?
I think one of the biggest things that I’ve learned is that I’ve been at my most supportive and helpful with Mandy when I’ve taken proper care of myself.
How are you connected with Young Adult Cancer Canada?
I’ve been fortunate enough to attend a YACC survivor retreat.
Stay in touch
Are you interested in helping others facing cancer challenges?
(If you are interested in getting in touch with Josh, email [email protected] and we will forward your message to him.)