Everyones past helped shape who they are today so it’s inevitable that cancer helped shaped me.
I was diagnosed with cancer for the first time at the age of 2; it was a brain tumour situated behind my left eye. I underwent treatment for months, with little results. My family was devastated by the idea of losing a loved one at such a young age. My mom insisted they keep treating me until my little fragile body couldn’t take anymore. After 12 weeks of radiation, and week long chemo treatments my tumour began to shrink. Eventually my oncologist was able to shrink the tumour, to ruffly the size of a loony, as well as eliminate the cancer cells. Years of fighting finally payed off- It created a miracle… ME
In addition to having underwent a childhood cancer, I was born with the P53 gene. This gene is essentially an error in my DNA that creates masses of cancer. Because of this gene the odds of me having cancer again were high- much much higher than the average person. In all honesty though, I never worried about it. I always told myself it’s pointless to worry about something that was out of my control. Weather I worried about cancer or not, if my biology insisted I get it- there was nothing I could do to change that.
January 6th 2017, shortly after my 18th birthday, the inevitable happened- I was diagnosed with cancer for the second time. I had been sleeping a little more and frequent headaches during the night began to affect the quality of my sleep. Th0se around me believed it was the lack of routine in my busy university lifestyle but something inside of me knew there was an underlying issue. I procrastinated going to the doctor during the holidays until I realized that my health was in my own hands. No one was going to advocate for me anymore; if I wanted an answer it was my responsibility to ask the questions.
After reaching out to my new oncologist nurse a few times, I realized she didn’t believe my symptoms were associated to anything major. She repeatedly encouraged me to go see my family doctor; however, something about her reaction was too calming. I decided to contact my old oncologist nurse whom assumed another role at the hospital. I explained my symptoms and that my current nurse was disregarding the importance of me seeing my oncologist. She contacted my current oncologist nurse and explained to her the importance of me being seen by my doctor. [I later found out, by my oncologist, that I only received an appointment because I spoke with my old nurse.]
The weeks to follow are a little bit of a blur. Everyone was in shock that this healthy young girl could possibly have such an awful disease growing inside of her AGAIN. By the end of January I underwent a massive surgery to remove the tumour, as well as reconstruct the left mandible with bone and tissue taken from my leg. The surgery was roughly 12 hours. The recovery time was estimated at 12-13 days but I was out in 6. I slowly began to recover.
Once I’m semi healed from the surgery, I will begin chemo treatment at SickKids… Till then Xo