Reflections on My Three Year Cancerversary…Lessons Learned

I should start by saying that on my actual Cancerversary (April 15th) I was so preoccupied with a doggie crisis that I spend all day at the emergency veterinarian’s worrying about my dog that I forgot all about what day it was! Needless to say, in the days that followed I did a bit of reflection on what surviving three years means to me.

I remember shortly after I was diagnosed, a friend of mine told me about her mother who was also battling cancer at the time. She mentioned that her mother had been fighting for three years. I thought, wow, what a long time!! In hindsight, it seems like no time at all!! It’s strange, I barely recognize myself or my life anymore, but I love who I am and I certainly love my life…cancer and all! I had always thought I knew what I wanted, but it took cancer to show me what was really important, and it wasn’t what I thought it was. Cancer has been both a blessing and a curse, and along the way, I’ve learned a few things that I’d like to share.

I’ve never felt so loved or so alone in my life

It is [...] continue the story

Would you like your cancer?

By Megan Oates

“You have cancer.”

I replayed his words over and over…and over. I looked straight ahead and saw nothing; the room was a blur of colour. I felt faint. It was the most dreamlike feeling. In that moment I was so aware of everything I was doing; it was as if I could only blink in slow motion. It was beyond surreal. My heart sank. I could hear my unsteady breathing. I could feel my chest as if it was rising a mile each time I took a breath. If the doctor continued to speak, I heard nothing. I was completely and utterly numb.

I felt my heart beat pound in my ears and I felt the blood drain from my face. The tears came and I could not stop them.

I looked intently at the faces of my parents. Both seemed to be in disbelief, gazing into an ethereal cloud of reality that had just dawned upon us. I wish I could have known what they were both thinking at that very moment.

I’m sure no parent ever wants to be told that their seventeen year old daughter has cancer.

I looked out the window into the brilliant sun. The clouds seemed to [...] continue the story

My Cousin Kristin

*** Editor’s Note: Mitch was 12 years old when he delivered this speech to his school.

————————————————————————————————————————- Just close your eyes and imagine. Imagine you are in a room at a hospital waiting for the doctor to arrive after a checkup. Then the doctor comes out and says, “Well, I hate to say it but… you have cancer.” Hello teachers, judges and fellow students.

To many of you this is just an imaginary scene. But for many people, this imaginary scene is a reality.

Nine years ago this happened to my cousin, Kristin Malone, when she was only seven years old.

It was May 19th, 1994. She had not been feeling well, so she went for a check up with her doctor. She went back to school that day and my aunt went back to work. They thought everything was fine. Then while at work, my aunt got a call from the doctor’s office. They suspected Leukemia! The doctor told her to take Kristin immediately to the Children’s Hospital in Calgary, Alberta.

Imagine how terrifying that would be! You are in your car, on the way to see if you have cancer or not.

Immediately, Kristin had blood tests, and the doctors had to get a sample of [...] continue the story

Breast cancer…not just a disease of older women

Shanna (Shan) had a kind heart, gentle spirit and a smile that would radiate across the room. Shan was a gifted artist, skilled swimming instructor and professional figure skating coach. Shan loved to work with children and planned to teach. She had graduated from university and was heading off to teacher’s college when she was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer.

Living her beliefs, Shan always took a positive outlook on life. She accepted the tests and breast cancer treatments with determined optimism and said “let’s get this show on the road.” Sadly the predictions of hope were not to be realized and Shan passed away a few months later. Like many young adults, Shan’s symptoms were misdiagnosed, her cancer was not detected early and it spread quickly. Shan was only 24.

Friends and family bonded together in their loss to preserve Shan’s spirit. Team Shan Breast Cancer Awareness for Young Women (Team Shan), a Canadian charity, was established in Shan’s memory to raise awareness that breast cancer is not just a disease of older women. The Team Shan logo and sunflower graphics used in our work were inspired from Shan’s original artwork.

Team Shan has produced a successful communication model to reach young [...] continue the story

Cancer Can’t LOVE Like This

Cancer Survivor: Daniel Stolfi Diagnosis: Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma Date of Treatment – March 2008-March 2010 Relation: Girlfriend

I don’t know how to put this. Long story short – I found out Daniel was sick a month into his treatment. I was devastated. It took me days to call him and then I finally manned up to it. Once we talked, our relationship blossomed over time. Dan and I know each other from theatre school (2002). Daniel’s illness shook our group of friends from University greatly. All were incredibly supportive and loving, but there was something inside my heart that wanted to be by his side. To this day, I have no idea what it was, but now he’s my love and I’m so blessed to have him – everyday.

I spent two years being a part of something very scary, sad and painful. It was hard to watch someone be so sick. I felt helpless and unsure of what to do at times. I questioned his illness, I cried a lot, I was frustrated, and I wanted answers. It brings tears to my eyes to remember how hard it was to know that I couldn’t really do anything to take the pain away.

 

Then, I finally realized [...] continue the story