A little about me:
I’m a fitness enthusiast and have a passion for nutrition and cooking. I Love working out, walks and hiking, dancing, running, music and spending time with family, especially watching my nephews play hockey.
My experience with blood cancer:
I’m an ALL survivor, diagnosed with a Philadelphia chromosome positive sub-type. I did have a stem cell transplant and my donor was my older brother. I also underwent intense chemotherapy. I relapsed in 2008 and have been on Gleevec for maintenance since then.
My experience was good and somewhat scary, having a nutritional background and working in healthcare helped me cope and deal with the cancer. It also helped with the support from family & friends to deal and go through the intense treatment. The uncertainties, of course, were scary. Especially when experiencing a health ‘hiccup’ during my treatment. I was surrounded by great doctors, nurses, family and friends to help me get through it all.
Support during my experience with blood cancer:
Psychosocial and Spiritual Care is what stands out the most for support when dealing with a blood cancer. When I relapsed while going through second round of treatments, I felt I lost my sense of hope and faith. I asked my healthcare team, if I could see Spiritual Care while I was treated at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre to help me regain the strength and hope that was lost.
Of course, if it wasn’t for the LLSC Patient Support posters up on Unit 57, I wouldn’t have reached out to the Patient Service Manager to connect me with other survivors to hear their stories and help me bring back hope and faith to continue to fight a blood cancer.
The LLSC Peer Support Program:
I have been an LLSC ambassador since/around late 2009. It gives me a sense of purpose. I feel that I have connected and helped so many survivors from different ages and those newly diagnosed. I feel that I have helped them understand that it is ok to ask for help and to feel the way you do going through a blood cancer.
I have learned so many things about myself. Being an advocate for blood cancers, I feel that I have increased blood cancer awareness; I continue to tell other survivors to do the things you are passionate about in life and to never give up. My motto is “Stay Strong, Live Long.”
Since being diagnosed, I have found my purpose in life and that life is too short to sweat the small stuff; learned to set boundaries; never gave up on my dreams and passions. I had the courage to start my nutrition business and being the fitness enthusiast that I am, I host a charitable bootcamp to help raise funds towards Blood Cancer Research.
I love the peer support program and I am proud to be part of the Life After Cancer Advisory Board with LLSC that started in 2019.