A little bit about you:
City: Toronto, ON
What was/is your diagnosis? Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
What year was it? What was your age at the time? March 2020, age 32
What is something you’ve done that you’re really proud of?
Being a positive role model to my children.
What is a top item on your life to do list?
Travel the world.
What are your hobbies?
Self-care, figure skating, physical fitness, writing, travel, teaching, meditating, listening to audiobooks, being outdoors, journaling, hiking.
What was your life like before your diagnosis?
I was going through the motions and living in the past, or at least 20 steps ahead. I know now that I was never really present and I took a lot of things for granted.
How did you find out you were sick? What led to your diagnosis?
I was eight months postpartum with twins and found a lump that I thought was a blocked milk duct at first. Turns out: cancer.
What were your first thoughts when diagnosed?
F*CK! This isn’t supposed to be part of my story. I am so young. I have so much living to do still. Why me?
In which hospital(s) are/were you treated?
Credit Valley Hospital.
What did your treatment consist of?
I completed one cycle of chemotherapy every three weeks. Four cycles in total. Every time I went for chemo treatment, my anxiety was through the roof. The nurses always had to try several times to get my blood pressure because it was so up and down. I would feel nauseated for about a week after chemo. No amount of anti-nausea pills would help. Despite this, I remained active and did everything I could do keep myself from falling into a funk. I was fortunate enough to have an army of family and friends supporting me and pushing me through it.
What is your current medical status?
In remission as of June 17, 2020! Surviving and thriving, baby!
Life after cancer:
How is life different for you now post diagnosis?
I am certainly more mindful and remind myself to live in the moment every day. I am grateful for every single moment I am given on this earth and take way better care of myself. A little self-love goes a long way.
What is/was the toughest part about having cancer as a young adult?
Acceptance. As a young adult, I thought I was invincible. It was hard to come to terms with the fact that my life was never going to be the same again.
What really helped/helps you to keep going while you were/are sick?
My children. They were only eight months old when I was first diagnosed. They depended on me for everything. I had no choice but to get up every morning to take care of myself and them despite how poorly I was feeling. They saved me and were the best reasons to keep on fighting.
How are you connected with Young Adult Cancer Canada? How did it happen?
I worked with someone several years ago who had been recently diagnosed with brain cancer. When they found out about my diagnosis, they reached out to me and told me about YACC. I have never looked back!
Did/Do you feel isolated from your peers since your diagnosis? If so, how did/does that affect you?
The isolation and self-loathing was so real. I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by an army of family and friends, but I still felt so alone. They just didn’t get it, and it cast me down a deep dark hole. Shortly after, I attended a virtual CancerCon with Stupid Cancer and then virtual chats with YACC. This was a game changer for me. I felt reinvigorated. There is something about being surrounded by other people with cancer. Strength in numbers I guess.
How has your cancer experience affected your body image, and your relationship to your body?
It has made me more proud of my body than I ever have been. I am proud of my body for enduring all the toxic chemicals of chemotherapy and working with them despite this to help kill the cancer and never let it come back! I take way better care of my body and listen to what it is telling me. This is something I never really paid attention to before.
What are some lifestyle changes you’ve made since your diagnosis?
Self-care is now a top priority. I incorporate meditation and breathing exercises into my weekly routines. I eat better and feel better overall.
Resources and recommendations:
Which books/movies/podcasts/TV shows/etc. would you recommend?
Radical Remission by Kelly A. Turner
Have you participated in any other retreats, conferences, programs, or support groups you’d like your cancer peers to know about?
I highly recommend Stupid Cancer. This organization is based out of the U.S, but still fully accessible in Canada. They have great programs and their CancerCon is incredible.
Stay in touch:
What would you like to say to other young adults dealing with cancer who are reading this profile?
Cancer does not define you. Don’t let anyone use it to define who you are. It is only a chapter in your life, not the whole thing. Reach out. Get help when you need it. Chances are there are others going through the exact same thing.
Are you interested in helping others facing cancer challenges? If so please let us know how you can be contacted.
Certainly! Email [email protected] and the YACC team will put us in touch.