Have you ever ‘kissed the cod’? Well I did, when a group of us enjoyed an evening of Newfie initiation at Brenda’s a few years ago. She prepared the most amazing assortment of Newfoundland dishes (including my favorite, Fish n’ Brews) and there were lots of belly laughs as we went through a series of initiation rights to become honorary Newfies.
Brenda’s down-home common-sense approach serves her well when it comes to dealing with life’s challenges. After her initial breast cancer diagnosis in 1997, she faced a recurrence in the same breast 2 years later, only to learn after mastectomy and chemo that there was another lump on her chest wall.
More than 10 years later, Brenda is spending weekends at her family’s chalet in Lac Ste Marie and is enjoying life. She is an example of someone who is fulling living today and looking forward to tomorrow.
Brenda’s advice for others:
First, give yourself time to grieve and do not feel guilty. If you do not grieve you cannot move on. You also need the time to absorb and sort it all through in your mind. People cannot do that for you. Tell well meaning people that you need some alone time to get used to the whole ordeal.
Secondly, do not get stuck in the grieving phase. Do not feel you have to continue grieving - move on to helping yourself. Do what you have to do to get your life back. Remember this is your life and if you are going to go through chemo and radiation again, it is because you want your life back. When you are unwell, rest and ask for help. When you are feeling better - live your life and continue to do for yourself. Think positively and live everyday as if it is your last (although it isn't).
You can read Brenda's story in her own words at Brenda. If you would like to read about other women living with cancer, click on "Cancer Heroes" below.