You're not alone. People from all across Ontario are sharing their fears and starting a new conversation about cancer. It's a collective voice that will grow stronger - with every acknowledgment, and every new understanding about how the Canadian Cancer Society can help.
When I think back to the beginning of my cancer journey, if it were not for meeting a member of CancerConnection.ca who was going through the same thing, I would not have gotten thorough it.
I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer in December 2011. I searched the internet for information and support. When I went to the Canadian Cancer Society website I found CancerConnection.ca, an online community for patients and caregivers.
I set up a profile and joined a breast cancer discussion group where I quickly befriended another woman who was going through the same experience. We bonded over the fact that our diagnosis dates were a week apart and that we received their pathology results on the same day.
My family, my friends and my colleagues were really supportive, but talking to people who were living with cancer was so comforting.
The people on CancerConnection.ca were the only people who could truly understand what I was going through. The community members knew exactly how scary it was and helped me cope by letting me know what to expect next. They helped me feel less alone.
My treatment involved a lumpectomy and sentinel lymph node biopsy - a procedure which checks only one or two of the lymph nodes to look for cancer. Luckily, the results showed that the cancer had not spread to my lymph nodes and I didn’t have to have chemotherapy. I underwent 25 rounds of radiation and five months later my doctors declared me cancer-free. I'm taking tamoxifen for the next five years.
Whenever I hear about someone who's been diagnosed with cancer, I tell them to join the CancerConnection.ca community.
- Joanne Whitman
Hope. When I read the many interactions on this website (CancerConnection.ca) I feel the strength of this community. It reaches out and wraps itself around me still. The first time I posted it reached back to me. Every time I visit I am wrapped again in the love and support of this place. Thank you to everyone who shares their hopes, their fears, their tears and their laughter, here, in this place. You fill me with strength. You give me the courage to hope.
- A.L. Davies
I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer in August 2006. I am now a five-year cancer graduate. When I was in the thick of cancer treatments, surgeries, medications, side-affects and other un-fun things I kept telling myself "it's not forever, it's just for now". It kept me going, kept me positive and kept me looking to a future with no cancer.
I think I'm a pretty positive person most of the time so I really needed to draw on that when I was diagnosed. I believe there is power in being positive and I knew it certainly would not help to sit around feeling sorry for myself. What good would that do? It wouldn't make me feel better and it would most definitely not make my family feel better. So I tried as best as I could to draw on positive energy each and every day.
When I began chemo and knew that the side effects would start to be evident very soon, I decided to tell as many people as possible. I didn't want to show up in places and be bald or looking different and have people talking about me behind my back and wondering what was wrong with me. I also didn't want to hide away until it was over. I wanted to live my life as normally as possible for as long as I could physically manage it. I wanted to go to my kids' hockey practices and games, attend social functions and parties, go to school meetings with teachers, go shopping and all the other things that I loved to do.
I was determined that this cancer would not shut me down and stop me from living my life. I vowed to carry on and fight it with everything I had in me. I needed to do it for me. For my husband and for my children. They especially needed to see me doing all the things I usually did as often as possible. Eventually I got to the point where I could not get out of bed for days at a time. That is when I had to repeat my mantra, "it's not forever, it's just for now" and just take it one hour, one day at a time."
- Tracy Tarnowski