February 8th, will be a day that will never be forgotten. It was the moment that not just my life but my family’s life would be changed in a way we never saw coming. I was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Three weeks prior, I had found a lump in my right breast. Anyone who knows me, would know that hypochondrac side in me went into over-drive. Living in Kamloops for almost the last two years, we have not been able to secure a family doctor. So off the to the walk-in clinic I went. I was sent for an ultrasound which quickly lead to a mammogram the same day. Not having a family doctor, I wasn’t giving much information of what was going on. Instead I received calls from the hospital setting up an MRI date and then another call, setting up a biopsy date. At this point, only a couple good friends knew about what was happening. Chances were, it was just going to be benign as there are no markers in our family for cancer. Along with never smoking, healthy diet, and working out regularly, my chances were high that cancer was not going to be present.
On February 6th, I went to the hospital for my biopsy. With Matt away, a friend took me, while another watched Addy bear (our two year old daughter). I was so grateful to have their help and support. While at the appointment, I still had no clue or information as to what the ultra sound or mammogram had discovered. When the doctor came in, I heard them talking about the reports and using other words along with the lump. I asked what “satellite images” meant. The biopsy took six samples. Three from the lump and three from a secondary lesion “satellite images.” I left the hospital feeling more concerned then when I walked in.
I was grocery shopping, when my phone rang on the 8th with my husband who had just gotten home from camp. It was the walk in clinic. The doctor I had seen asked if I could come at the end of her day. Hanging up the phone my gut told me instantly something was wrong. Making quick arrangement for the kids, Matt and I made our way to the clinic. Waiting for the doctor, the growing feeling increased that something just wasn’t right. When Dr. Anderson entered the room her energy had already told me something had come up in the biopsy. As the words left her mouth, the world shifted from under my feet. I stared across the room at my husband as my brain kept saying “this isn’t happening.” The doctor had already arranged the following morning for me to meet with a surgeon. Driving home from the doctors office, so many thoughts crossed my mind. How was I to explain this to my kids? How was I to call my parents and tell them such news? How was I to tell my friends? How was I to tell my clients as my new business has only been open for six months? How was I to do anything when I barely could process the information? All I could think was...I’m a 35 year old woman with two young kids why is this happening?
When I say February 8th won’t be a day we will forget, I don’t just mean that my cancer won an official spot on the Calendar. It was also the first day, that the friendships I have made here in Kamloops truly show the depth of their love for not just me but my family. I felt confused, and scared while they each held me as I cried. Yet in those moments, what I remember is their strength and love. Their encouragement that cancer will not win. Their determination to be my strength as I begun the first hours into my battle against cancer.
Meeting the surgeon, is when the next wind beneath my feet was taken. The lump had been tested positive for cancer but the secondary lesions as well. As the word “Mastectomy” left my surgeons mouth, the room spun. It hadn’t even been 24hours since hearing the word cancer and I was face with the reality that my breast had to be removed. Then faced with another scare. That it would take two weeks from the surgery day to determine the stage and grade of the cancer as well if my lymph nodes have been affected. Sitting in her office, listening to her explain about the mastectomy, reconstruction process, tissue expanders, scars, time-frame, and treatments I watched my husband. I was grateful for his determination to seek answers and learn. I could hear the words in the room yet my mind was thinking of James and Addison. The closeness I have to my six year old son, and how I was to tell him that I had just come face to face with one of my biggest fears; something that could take me away from them. That mommy was beginning one of the biggest mountains that she would have to climb.
Sunday, February 11th, we explained to James that I was sick, and not just with an everyday cold. Addison being two, has no understanding except that the energy around her has mixed emotions. So we focused on James. That I would also be having surgery to remove to sickness and how it would affect mommy’s body physically. That following that would be treatments that we didn’t know of yet until they could determine more information. I will never forget my amazing little boy looking up at me with tears in his eyes saying, “mommy if this sickness takes over, I will still love you. I am going to fight this with you, so you win.” They were words I’d never thought I’d ever hear from anyone's mouth let alone my own child.
Only a couple friends knew, Lyndsay, Immy and Susy, along with their husbands who are also our friends had circled around our family. These three beautiful, strong woman, knowing my world had just crumbled, alongside with their husbands were constantly telling me that I will beat this. That I was strong. That cancer will not win. That I will beat this no matter what. This had created a whisper from my own courage that formed through all my overwhelming emotions I was feeling. It was after my sons statement, looking into his little blue eyes, that through my numbness, fear, and all the other emotions I was feeling a four word statement formed. That what had been a whisper in the back of my mind turned into a scream “cancer will not win!”
We spent the following week informing friends, schools, and daycares. The unexpected and very humbling level of support has continued to grow with each person who has heard my news has flooded my world with a level of positivity, love and strength. To all the wonderful and amazing people upon finding, whether it was through the phone, James' school parking lot, or in person who offered coffee, pie, held my hand through the tears, and offered nothing but support, friendship and love, I deeply thank you from the bottom of my heart. My days of processing have only just begun, as well as my journey to fight cancer is only 9 days in as I write today the beginning of this journey. The shock of everything is still sinking in. I know the upcoming weeks will have many dark moments. I also know that in those moments I have people who will help me find the lightness. Whether it’s simply hanging out, watching a movie, cracking a joke, or simply being a shoulder for me express my emotions safely on. I know that I enter this fight not alone.
This next week will be the MRI and the second meeting with the surgeon to finalize my surgery date.
Thank you to everyone who have taken the time to read this. The upcoming weeks are going to be hard days. I encourage you to follow my journey through this website as phone calls and texting my updates may be delayed or accidentally go unanswered. Between Matt (my husband) and myself, we will post updates on this site that will be sent to your phone or email so that you can stay connected. Feel free leave comments and share this website if you wish, whether you are a family member, friend, acquaintance, someone who has met me in passing, or even if we have never met. Know that i may not always respond but I will be reading and feeling your support and for that I will always be deeply humbled.