Strathroy Middlesex General Hospital Foundation - The Breast Assessment Program Endowment Fund

Being a 46 year old woman, a wife and a mother is hard enough every day. Now try being told you have the deadly diagnosis of Cancer. THAT I wasn't ready to hear. At age 44 my tumor started to grow and became a stage 2 type Breast Cancer that travelled into my nodes. The fact this type of cancer was called, “Triple Negative" scared me because, I was told it was the bad of the bad. Currently the only known ways to kill this type of Cancer is to do chemo combined with radiation. So my fight started the day before my 47th birthday, with a dose of the hardest chemo you can take. It made me lose all my hair including eye brows and lashes. I would find out what nausea truly feels like after my 1st dose, and I had a total of 4. When done with the chemo, I would go daily for months of radiation and quickly realized on day 4 the burn that happens when you radiate skin. All the while trying to find my way along this journey. As a mom and wife, I was terrified to lose this fight and leave my family behind. I knew how scared this made me feel and I quickly realized as a nurse there was a higher need when helping others dealing with this next level illness. So not knowing how much time I had left I became very public with my treatments in hopes it would help anyone going through same thing. All the while facing my own fears head on in front of the world along the way. This became very therapeutic to my recovery as well as showing my kids their mom in a positive light. In doing so this helped others feeling not so alone. This is the only beautiful thing that comes from a Cancer diagnosis: the bond between complete strangers. I found the team at Strathroy Middlesex General Hospital through their breast screening process (Hasten Campaign), as well during treatment and even including my surgeon, Dr. Jaine was excellent. He also helped me see this cancer for what it was as well as helping me get past other catastrophic events that also happened. This alone should have stopped me dead in my tracks yet I am trying to also pass it on and help others. I also found out I am a BRCA +1 carrier and now my family needs testing to see if they have same threat from this “Triple Negative” Cancer. I believe knowledge is power. You can’t fight what you don't know. It is crazy that there is strength beyond falling apart and power that as long as we stand together fighting, we might just stay one step ahead of this terrible disease. I never thought I could show that we truly are stronger than we believe, as well as that anything is possible when you don't let fear hold you back.

Christiena

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