Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about my life. Why things turned out the way they did, why terrible things happen to good people. I’ve thought about how life is short, how your days really are numbered. I’ve thought about my passions, and what I really like and enjoy.
But most importantly the past few years have helped me realize what I hate and what I love.
The ironic thing about discovering what you hate…is you realize what you love.
It all began a few years ago…
As winter has drawn to a close, and the only topic in Canada outside of the weather is diet, I have to wonder: Am I the only one finding sanctuary in her kitchen? Yes, food is my business — but why do we feel that enjoying our kitchen and all of its lovelies (I refer to my well-used pots here) means that a steadfast diet (or as I prefer, weight management program) is unattainable?
Since my diagnosis with breast cancer, and now my passionate endeavour into entrepreneurship, I find that “owning” your food and food preparation can deliver just the opposite result. I am a strong believer that with the right kitchen methodologies, quality ingredients, and a love of food (well, we all love food; it’s just a love/hate sort of thing!) we can finally conquer this discussion of diet and move in the direction of “lifestyle change.” Wouldn’t this be a mind-full for us to consider?
I am a SURVIVOR!
Dec. 30, 2008, three weeks before my 40th birthday, I got the horrible news: breast cancer. Surgery, chemo and radiation would be necessary to kill this cancer. Weeks of emotional upheaval, stress, worry, anguish, the “why me”? Then, after meeting with the surgeon and understanding more about what was happening to me and my body, I felt a peace and calm come over me. I thought, “why not me?”
We had a plan: I put on my pink boxing gloves and got ready to fight! But, not before I took my boys to Disneyland. The trip had already been planned and I asked the surgeon if delaying surgery a couple of weeks would matter when I was 80. He told me if I could go and have fun, then do it!! So we did, and we had a wonderful trip. I so wanted to give this to my children (ages seven and 10 at the time), as I knew the next year would be a struggle, and it was. Now, 16 months post-chemo and 13 months post-radiation I feel like me again, and am so grateful for so many things in my life.
What does being a breast cancer survivor really mean? It means different things to different people. These are some of the things it means to me:
- It means I can read a pathology report.
- It means I will never complain about bad hair days again.
- It means I have scars I never thought imaginable.
- It means that I tend to not sweat the “small stuff” so much anymore.
- It means that every time I hear of someone who has been diagnosed with cancer my heart breaks for them because now I really understand.
- It means I have clearer priorities in life, and make time for the things I really want to be doing.
- It means I feel like I’ve been given an opportunity to look at and live life differently, and I do.
- It means I am stronger than I ever thought I could be (or wanted to be).
Being a survivor means I am now a member of a club I really never imagined I’d join, but thankful there are organizations like the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation that connect us and support us.
In celebration of National Survivor Day, Mary-Anne Brabander, a 33 year cancer survivor and Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure participant, tells us her story.
In early April 1977, I was almost 30 years old. I was a wife and the mother of two small children. My daughter was going on 6, and my son was 7 months old. I had just had his 6 month check-up where my doctor had discovered a mass in my right breast. He didn’t want to scare me. However, he suggested I have it looked at and made the appointment with the surgeon at the clinic in Montreal.
Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation employee, Anne Pathammavong, tells us why she loves to Cook for the Cure.
What do you like about working for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation?
What is there not to like? Every day I know that my work is helping to create a future without breast cancer. It’s the best feeling in the world.