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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.