Mary, 50 years old, has been fighting cancer for 2 years. She also cares for her husband who, after suffering from a stroke, has been paralyzed on one side for several years. Mary often feels like she is fighting alone…
Mary has been working for the Cancer Research Society for over 20 years.
" A continuous battle "
" One day, I went to the doctor, thinking I had a urinary infection. The doctors felt a mass and thought I was 5 months pregnant, but I knew that was impossible! The tests finally proved that I had cancer. In fact, I had 2 cancers – one in my uterus the size of a nut and another, much bigger one, on my ovary. The ovarian cancer is the one which was symptomatic as it was pressing on my bladder."
Living with the disease
" The nurses were angels "
" I had to wait 3 months for my surgery. It was performed on Christmas Eve, which is also my birthday. The operation, a hysterectomy, lasted 51/2 hours. I had complications and had to rest without going outside the house for 2 months before I was well recuperated. I was also busy trying to care for my husband. Luckily, my family and the CLSC gave me a lot of help. But it was difficult… and then I had to get through chemotherapy. It was hard to move because abdominal muscles were cut during my surgery. I had to re-learn how to walk. Thankfully, the nurses at the Jewish General Hospital were always there to lean on. Literally and figuratively. They were my angels. I needed their support to get me through my prescribed 12 treatments. "
" The side-effect shake you up "
" Three months after the start of my chemo treatments, I started to lose my hair and eyebrows. The side effects were the worst. Every muscle ached! I felt exhausted all the time. I also had to pay extra careful attention to my food – everything had to be carefully washed and/or boiled to kill germs so that my body could allocate all its resources to rebuilding after the chemo. Then I was given radiation treatments, 5 days a week, which also had side effects. It seemed to get more and more difficult with each passing day. I was weak, I had no appetite, and I couldn’t drive. I even suffered from memory loss."
" People look at me like I’m a walking miracle "
" In November 2013, after completing my treatments, I progressively returned to work at the Cancer Research Society. Today, I am still often tired and not yet 100% back to my old self. My main priority is my husband, with whom I have shared my life for 30 years. I believe strongly in research. The treatments of today are much more effective than those given 20 years ago. One of the keys to successful treatment is maintaining a healthy body and eating well. That’s also called PREVENTION. Listen to us! I always felt it was important to care for people around you. I never knew how important it was until I needed that care and support for myself. I am so grateful for my friends, my family, and my colleague at the Cancer Research Society who cared for me during these difficult times. It is also important to stay positive. I donated my organs for study to help advance research. People look at me today like I’m a walking miracle!! "