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The Voice of People With Breast Cancer

Education

Our Voices Blog


Tag : diagnosis

Making Powerful Healthcare Decisions - Claim Your Voice

Having a solid strategy for gathering trusted and dependable information is critical for making informed treatment decisions when it comes to your health.  It is also important to be able to communicate assertively with healthcare practitioners as an equal partner in shared decision-making.

How and When to Drop the Big-C News

I don’t know what it was like for you but for me, saying “I have breast cancer” out loud felt fake, like I was lying. Every time the words came out of my mouth I wanted to hide. Rationally, I knew my diagnosis was real, but the horrible emotions that preceded and followed each proclamation filled me with shame. And the voice inside my head was relentless. It just kept goading me on.

The Must-Know Info About Early-Stage Breast Cancer

As I tried to process my diagnosis and what it meant for me, along with the future I’d envisioned for myself, I went into research mode. It’s my comfort zone. I’m curious by nature and profession (being a writer and all), and having information, knowing everything that I need to know, makes me feel in control. So, I dug deep, Googled like a crazed person, and asked my doctors hundreds of questions while I tried as best as I could to prepare myself for the unknown that was to come. Here’s what I learned about being diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer.

Younger Women and Breast Cancer Care Equity

The spending justifications for girl math are funny. But they just aren’t real. And oddly, this type of rationalization reminds me of how many doctors dismiss younger women when they believe that they have breast cancer. I know this because it happened to me. This is how I see girl math being applied to breast cancer.

Navigating Life's Tough Challenges: Building Resilience in the Face of Adversity

When I received the news that I had breast cancer, my world seemed to crumble before my eyes. Overwhelmed, vulnerable, and defenseless, I faced a daunting journey ahead. As a seasoned business owner, I had encountered my fair share of adversity, but nothing could prepare me for this level of fear. For the first time, I found myself fearing the unknown, dreading the loss of everything: my health, my quality of life, my business, and all my assets. How could I possibly endure this?

Navigating Emotions, Identities, and Finding Hope

Colleen Packer of Calgary felt a wide range of emotions when she was diagnosed with metastatic lobular breast cancer in 2019: “Shock. Frustration. Fear. Grief. I sobbed. Initially in that first year, it had a really huge impact. Now it has become more routine. Now I feel a lot more in control. It’s a strange mix of feelings to have. It’s both/and. It’s possible to feel happy and sad, angry, grateful, afraid, and confident all at the same time. All those feelings are valid, and you need to provide space for all those feelings because they’re all very much a part of the experience.

How Breast Cancer Transformed Colleen’s Leadership Career

If you found out that you had a life-limiting illness, would you tell your colleagues at work? If you did, would they think you’re less capable of doing your job? That was the dilemma that Colleen Packer faced when she was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in 2019.

The Cancer Time Warp

It’s safe to say that most of us believe, kind of like the-sky-is-blue believe, that the past, present, and future are the logical chronology of time. Even mathematical equations, which I am terrible at, define time as the measure of the duration that exists between each sequence of these events. So how come when it comes to breast cancer, time is so fucked up? It would be so much more manageable if we, individuals diagnosed with cancer, could just live in the present.

What You Believe Will Be

Don’t curse me if this column sounds crazy. Or do. It’s up to you. But what I’m sharing in this column is true for me and it has changed my life for the good. Trust me, as a single woman who lives alone with her two cats, is constantly hustling to secure editorial work and hasn’t had a single decent “like” on Hinge in well over a year, I’m always looking for the positive. This is my honest-to-goodness M.O.

Breast Self-exams. Why you still need to do them even with a cancer diagnosis

Feel it on the first. Know your lemons. Check your boobies. Get in touch with them apples. I never noticed these catch phrases written on social media to inspire women to do monthly breast self-exams until after I was diagnosed. Well after too, like, when I was recovering from having had breast cancer surgery and treatment. Ironic, isn’t it? More ironic is the fact that I never really did regular breast self-examinations on my boobs and when I did, they were always half-hearted, like an afterthought.

Reason #4 That Cancer Still Sucks: Surgery Can’t Prevent Recurrence

 In this blog series, we present excerpts from Dr. David Stewart’s book A Short Primer on Why Cancer Still Sucks. The fourth reason that cancer still sucks is that it can recur in some patients even if it appears to have been removed completely by surgery. Surgery is not even an option for many patients. 

When Was the Last Time You Asked Yourself: Are You Okay?

I’ve been watching Harry & Meghan, the documentary series on Netflix. I’m not a royal’s buff or even a fan, well, except for Princess Diana (I thought she was great). No, I started watching the series for boredom’s sake, because I needed a new show. I figured that because I like docu-series and because I couldn’t watch what I really wanted to—the Kardashian’s new reality show because I don’t have Disney+—this was it. So, I clicked play and about five minutes into Episode 1, I was hooked.

Breast Cancer Care for Lesbian and Bisexual Women

Who you are and where you live can greatly impact your access to care, and sexual orientation is no exception to this. Within the healthcare system, the LGBTQ+ community regularly experiences barriers when seeking adequate health services, and the effect of these barriers may result in poorer health outcomes. This leads to the question — does being a lesbian or bisexual woman affect your risk for breast cancer?

To the Girl Standing in The Blue Hospital Gown, Part 2

I’m still scared and I’m still nervous, but I’m okay. I’m finding a sense of peace and calmness in all of this chaos. These past 42 days have been life changing. Being diagnosed and the end of a relationship has really tested my ability to find acceptance in everything. I continue to smile and laugh; life is truly incredible. The universe works in ways that I’ll never fully understand and in the darkest moments there is still light to be found.

To the Girl Standing in The Blue Hospital Gown, Part 1

Well, the results are in.

Take a seat.

Take a deep breath.

It’s positive.

Practical Tools to Find Inner Strength and Resiliency During Breast Cancer and Beyond

I know you remember the moment you heard, “You have breast cancer”. Those words began a long journey with many possible roadblocks and detours. You will all be at different points on your cancer timeline. Perhaps you have just been diagnosed, are continuing with treatment, or even managing a reoccurrence. Because each of you is more than a statistic, your journey will be unique. The path to follow must be the one that is right for you. At each turn, you will be faced with many hard decisions. You certainly did not choose this challenge, but it is now in front of you. Deciding what is important, how you want to live, and setting your priorities are some of the many demands of this disease. The challenge is how do you want to move forward towards healing which is finding your wholeness and balance. Cure is the absence of physical disease. Everyone hopes for a cure. Even if you cannot achieve a cure, you can and must seek your definition of healing.

Getting a Second Opinion in our Public Health System

When we hear stories about people’s experiences receiving a diagnosis like breast cancer, we often hear the empowering message to trust your gut and get a second opinion if the answers aren’t sitting well with you. These messages, while meant to be inspiring, can often feel impractical. In other countries, like the US, getting second opinions may be fairly straightforward, but in Canada, second opinions may be a bit trickier to come by.  

COVID-19 and Breast Cancer: Patient Voices, Expert Knowledge

Our latest digital magazine COVID-19 and Breast Cancer: Patient Voices, Expert Knowledge approaches the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic from the perspective of breast cancer patients and provides credible information for breast cancer patients from healthcare professionals and experts.

I Screen, You Screen…But Can We Really Screen?

A little more than two months ago, I started having weird pains in my right breast. It’s a throbbing sensation that radiates from the right side of my breast all the way to my nipple and then beneath my breast. Sometimes it happens when my arm leans into my breast, other times when I move my entire arm and once in a while, from the impact of my bra resting against my breast. Touching the area with my hands only intensifies the pain and since I seem to have zero impulse control, I find myself pressing into these spots all the time to check if the pain is still there. It is.

From Crisis to Opportunity

There is never a good time to get a breast cancer diagnosis. Our family was about to vacation in Australia when I got the news. Because I had been on a fitness kick in the months beforehand, I felt so healthy that I couldn’t believe anything was wrong, but it was. A grade two tumour and two affected lymph nodes meant that holiday plans had to make way for surgery.