About Me
I am a big she-geek and a mom of two awesome kids. My husband’s pretty awesome too, heehee. I love gaming, comics/manga, drawing, painting, and being active whenever possible. I’m a CBC! Chinese Born Canadian. My parents are from Hong Kong/China. I’m 44. I’m just an ordinary girl trying to make the world a better place, one starfish at a time.

My Breast Cancer Story
Regular breast exams did not save my life, a video game did. I’m a big geek, so I suppose it’s only fitting that our Nintendo Switch would save my life IRL.

How did this happen? Well, I may have gotten a little over zealous and cranked the difficulty to the highest level while playing a fitness video game. I was showing off to my kids that their mom is indeed cool and could complete the game on hard mode. I am proud to say that I totally rocked it on hard mode, but injured myself in the process. Nothing serious, a slight pectoral muscle pull and a tiny knot… so I thought.

My muscle pull resolved after a few days, but that knot stayed put. It didn’t hurt but wouldn’t move around when squished. It felt like a Swedish Berry was lodged inside my body. I knew then what it was, but tried to tell myself it wasn’t. I found the courage to check it out the next day. My doctor performed a breast exam but found nothing. I’m barely an A-cup so if there’s anything there it should be easy to find right?! Nope! Upon finding the ‘knot’ he said to me “It doesn’t feel muscular.” That sealed the deal for me right there. That gummy candy in my armpit was a damaged, cancerous lymph node. After all the tests and biopsies, I was diagnosed with stage 3 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma and Invasive Papillary Carcinoma.

Oh the drama! Immediately after my doctor visit, that lymph node tripled in size. I developed a fever, chills, fatigue, and was bedridden for 3 days. I thought I was going to die, so I began my silent “goodbyes” to my kids and husband (but of course I didn’t tell them that). Well, I was wrong, SO wrong! Google was wrong! In the words of Aragorn “… but it is not this day! This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good Earth, I bid you stand, (wo)men of the (B)West!” Heehee! I recovered, went flat, got chemo-ed, radiated, and now I glow.

Nah, I’m not strong. I don’t like the alternative, so I love my babies stronger, love my family stronger, and my love for life is stronger.

I Want You to Know
Be kind, even when others are not kind to you. It is so hard to say the right thing, or know the right thing to do when you interact with someone who has breast cancer. However, it is even harder to tell WHO has cancer. Those of us who have been through the gamut will be forever changed and we may never get over the experience completely. Sometimes, kindness just makes the world of a difference.

I want my friends and family to know that going through breast cancer and coming out the other side is not like getting over the flu. I may look and sound OK, but I am no longer the same person as before my diagnosis. My treatment will continue for years to come, and the anxiety of recurrence will always linger in the back of my mind. Although I may be trying to live my best life, I also need space to not be OK sometimes. It doesn’t mean I don’t love you or my life any less. I love you more.

I want you to know that you can do all the right things and still get cancer, so keep yourself in check. It isn’t your fault or anyone else’s when it happens. I was vegan for most of my life, was active with a normal BMI, I don’t drink alcohol, and have never smoked. Be diligent with your manual exams, and if something doesn’t seem right, listen to your body and get it checked out right away. I may not have lived to see the day if I had waited until I was 50 for my first mammogram.

Diagnosed at 43