I Live Life Now…
Lying on the ultrasound table I intrinsically understood this was the beginning of a rabbit hole, unsure of what that meant at the time. My first thought was I have no regrets in life. None. I have always lived life fully and with purpose. Not something many people can confidently say.

Honestly, there are so many things I’d rather do than write this blog but awareness is what I feel is very important.
Let’s rewind to winter when I was getting ready for Spring 2023, I was lifting weights, doing ten push-ups on my toes with ease, and getting back into pull-ups with five being a manageable number. This was a huge accomplishment. I felt so strong and capable, my personal version of Superman.

Over the past two years my energy levels were all over the map and in September of 2021 I went on BHRT (bioidentical hormone therapy). After my testosterone read 0.2 nmol/L, normal is <2.0 nmol/L; I was exhausted and hurting from this lack of steroids in my body. Ironically this blood test was on July 13, 2021, less than one month before I began my River Of Hope paddle from Jasper to Athabasca 663 km of paddle boarding the Athabasca River. Not a great feeling to start an epic trip with. A Change Will Do You Good
In September 2021 I also changed careers and began driving in the oilfield delivering supplies to drilling rigs, pipelines and leases. Growing up driving trucks and trailers on the farm towing a 40 ft trailer with a dually was within my skill set. I enjoyed working 10-12 hour days and being outdoors in the bush alone.
To many, it’s a far cry from a personal trainer and yoga instructor but after COVID and being shut down continuously, I was embracing the change.

Being tired is normal when you wake up at 5 am to work out, get ready and arrive at work at 7 am. Some days are 15 hours in the snow, cold, and driving on icy roads. In bed by 8:30 pm most evenings I was thriving for the most part in this new world.
Circling back to when I was working out harder and feeling great, at first when my chest was sore I honestly thought it was from exercise. Then my bra felt like there was a seam pressing on it. My new bra could be the problem. There was a thick seam in it. No lumps ever on self-examination were presented.

Finally, in April I felt what could only be described as a thickening, asking my husband to confirm if I was right he agreed willingly to check (helpful guy)! It still didn’t dawn on me that it could be anything worth needing medical attention. I will also be fully honest in saying if I wasn’t friends with a doctor to ask for their opinion I wouldn’t have made an appointment. That’s how uninteresting this thick part of my breast was.Just to be safe we booked a mammogram and ultrasound.

In September of 2022 I had a routine mammogram as I have had for the past six years since turning 40 years old. The Alberta Health letter arrived in the mail with the typical negative screening, no lumps or odd things in my boobs. Cool.

Colons Are The Real Problem
One correlation I’ve never considered is when you go for a mammogram they always ask if you have a family history of breast, ovarian or colon cancer. I won the lottery for colon cancer with both parents succumbing to the disease at 49/61 years of age. By the age of 36, I was an orphan per se.

Due to this high risk, I’ve been getting colonoscopies since I was 32 years old to ensure I don’t end up in the same category. My personal life philosophy has always been that cancer isn’t what I will die of. It’s not my fate.
June 1, 2023, lying on the ultrasound table and hearing the words: You’ll have surgery no matter what to remove these radial scars (a fancy word for mass we don’t know if it is malignant or not) was unbelievable. My legs shook the slightest at the news.
Coming out to the car I told my husband nonchalantly I thought it was still not an issue. I don’t have a “lump”. The only worry was these masses never showed on a mammogram only six months prior so what the heck?

Ignorance Isn’t Bliss
For the next 21 days, I functioned fairly normally not considering too much if this would be the big scare. Spending time in the wilderness for three weeks in May/June helped keep my mind at ease. Nature is the ultimate healer.
Finally, I went in for the biopsy. Let me warn you it’s not painful at all but after it, you see colours of breast tissue you didn’t know existed. Purple, yellow, green, red, pink, blue…the physical bruises are easy, it’s the waiting. OMG, THE WAITING IS BEYOND BRUTAL.

I consider myself a fairly grounded person. I walk when I wake up in nature, then ice bath, meditate, or do yoga to counteract all the scary thoughts in my head. Upon leaving the room, the radiologist wrote in my report that there was a high chance of malignancy. I should be urgently referred to the Comprehensive Breast Clinic. That scared the shit out of me.
Finally, one week later it was confirmed that I have breast cancer. Surreal. Then the real pain starts of telling loved ones; I understand why people would hide it but please don’t. The tears are a gift from people who truly love you and care for you. As heartbreaking as it is to tell them you feel their love so deeply.

Life Goes On Waiting For Surgery
With a little less than a month to wait for surgery, did I mention July is the worst time to get sick as most practitioners are on holidays. August 9th is scheduled surgery due to the surgeon being gone for 2 ½ weeks. I understand a surgeon needs time off, it’s quite the head game when you know you have something you don’t want to spread living in you.

However, I am resilient, I have trained to do hard things my whole life. Always picked challenges to test my physical but also mental capacity. The reasoning was to pick hard things to do when it’s a choice, then when you don’t have a choice you’re ready. There are hard days but for the most part, I am in a good head space.

Paddle tours, fishing trips and all the good things in life planned before and after surgery. Life waits for no one, I have lived this way for 20 years and plan to keep living this way for the rest of my life.
Cancer isn’t a fight to embark on, it’s a journey you have to walk through. You can hate it with fear and anger or you can pick light and love. Truly we all have a choice. I’m thankful for this and the opportunities it gives you for reframing life. You love deeper, care harder and open your eyes to a new world around you.

Don’t feel pity for me. I don’t pity myself, this is a call to awareness that it isn’t always a lump. We are so trained to feel for lumps as women but Invasive Lobular Carcinoma doesn’t grow that way. PLEASE if something feels odd at all request another type of scan to confirm it is nothing. Mammograms DO NOT pick up this type, ultrasounds or MRIs are the only way to diagnose it.
Sending You Love N Sup,