Then and now

I have been diagnosed with breast cancer twice.

In 2014, we had just moved to California. We had no support network. It was just my husband and myself.

This time, we live in a cohousing community and have support from my neighbours.

In 2014, we lived in the South Bay Area near San Jose.

This time, we live in a small town in Nova Scotia Canada.

In 2014, my diagnosis was quick. Within a week of reporting the lump to my doctor I knew what kind of cancer I had (bilateral hormone positive, HER2 negative in both breasts).

This time, it took months to finally get my diagnosis, a lower level of hormone positive and HER2 positive.

In 2014, I knew nothing about breast cancer and had to do a lot of learning.

This time, I knew what things meant and was able to anticipate the recommended treatment options. I knew what to expect.

In 2014, I had to choose where to get treatment.

This time, I already had an oncologist and there was only one surgeon in the small town where I live.

In 2014, I did chemo first.

This time, I had surgery to remove the cancer before I knew exactly what kind of cancer it was.

In 2014, I had access to several different support groups.

This time, there isn’t a support group. I had to reach out to find an online healing circle which isn’t quite the same as having a local support group.

In 2014, I had to bring my own food to chemo.

This time, they fed me during chemo.

In 2014, I went to a large chemo centre where the warm blankets are hospital blankets.

This time, I’m in a small chemo centre where the warm blankets are fleece or knitted blankets in a variety of different colours.

In 2014, I did not need radiation as my nodes were negative and I had a double mastectomy.

This time, the cancer was in my lymph nodes, so radiation was required.

In 2014, I did a what felt like a lot of chemo (4 rounds of AC, 12 rounds of T but ended early at 9 rounds).

This time, chemo was shorter (4 rounds of TC), but I am also doing Herceptin every three weeks for a year.

In 2014, I was obsessed with what was happening with my hair – both in the process of losing it and the process of it growing back.

This time, I didn’t really care. I had some fun with my neighbours colouring and styling it before it fell out.

In 2014, I lost ALL my hair.

This time, I didn’t get to a point where I lost all of my hair.

In 2014, my husband came with me to all my appointments.

This time, the chemo centre is so small there is no place for him to be, so I went alone.

In 2014, it was a half hour drive to the chemo centre.

This time, it is a 5 minute drive to the chemo centre.

Both times, I felt like I was getting the care I needed. I’m glad my initial treatment was in California, and I’m glad that this treatment has been in Canada. I feel like in both cases I was in the right place.

  • Becky

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