Name: Bernadette Leno
Hometown: Edmonton, AB
What was your diagnosis? Stage 1 Breast Cancer
What school did you attend? George Brown College
What is your career goal? Find a place where I can truly make a difference
What is your occupation? Administration Guru and Photographic Artist
Your cancer experience:
How did you find out you were sick? What led to your diagnosis? Self exam, thought I felt something
What year was it? What was your age at the time? November 2010, 33.
In which hospital were you treated? Mount St. Joseph’s (Initial Surgery)
At what level of education were you at diagnosis? College graduate.
What were your first thoughts when diagnosed? Are you serious?
How did your family react? Family was amazing. Of course they were shocked.
How did your friends react? Were you treated differently, or did things remain the same? A bit of both. Most friends treated me the same but some didn’t.
What did your treatment consist of?
Medical side: Lumpectomy, chemo, bi lateral mastectomy, reconstructive surgery.
Non-medical side? During treatment I felt great, with the occasional sad day. After chemo was over and before my mastectomy I was in a pretty rough place.
What is your current medical status? Cancer free
How is life different for you now post diagnosis? Funny that I am in the best shape of my life, I don’t let little things bother me anymore, I just love.
What is the toughest part of your challenge? How dismissive some people are. Just because I didn’t/don’t look sick, doesn’t mean I don’t have a crap load to deal with.
What was the best lesson you took away from your challenge? Life is short, life is beautiful. To embrace all experiences and just love.
What really motivated you to keep going while you were sick?
I was part of an exercise study and that got me out of bed in the mornings. The love of my family and friends really helped as well.
What are your thoughts and feelings about your illness now? How have they changed since before your diagnosis?
I think when I was diagnosed, I knew it was serious but not until I went through it, did I realize how serious. I definitely take better care of myself now and try to take care of others around me as well.
What are some preventative measures that people can take to lower their risk of having an experience like yours?
That is tough as I was pretty low risk. Just eat right, exercise, and limit alcohol intake. And do your self exam ladies! (Editor’s note: You can sign up for our monthly Touch Yourself, Trust Yourself e-newsletter for a reminder!)
Did you attend any support groups during your challenge?
I was a part of an art therapy pilot program. That was great, met some great people.
How are you connected with Young Adult Cancer Canada?
During an art therapy session someone had mentioned YACC.
If you are interested in connecting with Bernadette Leno please email email@example.com.