Natalie's family and friends will be walking in this year's CIBC Run for the Cure.

My journey began May 2011. I had found a lump in my breast and was scheduled for my yearly mammogram. I had a feeling that the news was not going to be good. I was 47 years of age, had two grown children and thought this wasn’t supposed to happen to people my age. I was sent for further tests and biopsies. In June 2011 my wonderful husband (my rock) and my Mum came with me to the oncologist for the results of my biopsies. Yes it was confirmed that I had stage II ductal carcinoma and it was also in some of my lymph nodes. The tumour was over five centimetres in size and an aggressive type of cancer.

I thought, “OK, what is the treatment and when can I get started?” I knew that I would beat it but it was going to be a long battle. I was to have eight chemo treatments, 17 Herceptin (chemo), 25 radiation treatments, and a mastectomy and lymph nodes removed. I started my treatments right away every 21 days.

The doctors and nurses soon found out that I was a challenging case. Every possible side effect a person could get with chemo, I got. Normally people get one or two side effects but I got all 10, and I didn’t even get a gold star.

Natalie in Kona before her surgery.

Time seemed to move along quite quickly with treatments and then off to Kelowna Mum and I went for radiation. I am truly blessed to have my faith, and the support of my wonderful family and terrific friends. Having a positive attitude and support helps one get through the days. I could not have done it without everyone’s help and sacrifices they made for me.

After chemo and radiation we went on a holiday to Kona (The Big Island) to relax, before having surgery in June 2012. I am so happy and grateful that I am now officially cancer free. I still have side effects from the chemo but I sure appreciate life more and take more time to enjoy it.

Last year my friends organized a team at the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure to walk in honour of me because I was too sick from chemo. This year my daughter and even more friends will be all walking together to find a cure.

Natalie Spence