On January 22, 2016, I went for a mammogram to confirm that a lump in my right breast was a cyst. It was. And, it saved my life. Because I was overdue for my breast screening, imaging was also done on my left breast. The mammogram and ultrasound came back “highly suspicious” for cancer.
A biopsy followed, confirming that I had breast cancer: invasive ductal carcinoma, with pre-surgical staging as Stage IIB. The cancer had spread locally to at least one lymph node. T2N1. The cancer was highly estrogen and somewhat progesterone responsive but HER2 negative.
I gathered what information and reassurance that I could from the experience of others, from my doctors and from online resources, made choices and forged ahead into a year of treatment - as it turned out, for both of us after my spouse, Angie, fell on ice and broke her shoulder.
We live in the Gatineau Hills in Quebec in a pesticide-free, environmentally friendly semi-rural municipality near Ottawa. This year, 2017, will mark our 25th Anniversary. Angie is retired after working in the social services sector and in her own graphic/web design business (although she left me to my own devices in designing this site). She is a foodie and the property manager at GlenHarris, our home.
At diagnosis, I was 56 years old. Non-smoker. As of 2013 due to migraines, a non-drinker. An avid golfer, neglectful gardener and sometime swimmer. An academic and educator. Born in New Zealand and came to Canada in 1993. And, from a ‘cancer family’: My parents and one of my two brothers had died of cancer. Both of my maternal aunts. A cousin. Yet, somehow, I thought I was immune. Facing my cancer then, has also involved facing one of my biggest fears. It is an ongoing healing process for body, soul and mind.
This blog contains letters I've written to our community, my insights on choosing and managing cancer treatment and being sustained during the process we shared together.
I'm not a physician so nothing in the posts should be taken as medical advice.
If you'd like to email me I can reached at email@example.com.
The photo of me (top) was taken in October 2015 so it is a picture 'before' diagnosis. The photo of Angie, is from August, 2015.
We had a lot of people around us during the year and lots of photos with them. For privacy and consent reasons, I've chosen, in general, not to include those photos.