Eight years after her original diagnosis, Marie-Andrée’s cancer returned in the same breast. The good news is that there was no signs of metastasis anywhere, but it meant a mastectomy and more chemo. She is now waiting for surgery to remove her ovaries and may consider prophylactic mastectomy once she has the results.
When I first met Marie-Andrée on the dragon boat team, one of the things that was obvious is her love of family. Her son is now 12 and we’d often see him and his dad at dragon boat events. The Busting Out dragon boat team has been a huge source of support and pride – so much so that Marie-Andrée wore her team shirt to all of her chemo treatments!
When a chemo patient finishes their last treatment, they get to ring a bell in the chemo room.
"How do I look at life today? Some days with fear but most days with hope and a very deliberate attempt at making every moment count big time. Watching our son grow and play and become a fine young man is what I want to keep on doing for a very long time.
A few tips from Marie-Andrée for others with a recurrence (in no particular order):
· Accept the kindness of others with grace - the people around you want to help so much - take all that you need. You deserve it.
· Be your own advocate with the medical system and with those who surround you. Only you can speak for you.
· Trust kids. They can teach us so much and they deserve honesty.
· Go for a walk everyday - if you can with a supportive neighbour.
· Read good books or, if you can't concentrate, watch funny movies.
· Keep on living as much as you can...enjoy the small moments of everyday life."
You can read Marie-Andree’s story in her own words at "Marie-Andrée".
If you would like to read about other women living with cancer, click on "Cancer Heroes" below.