Andrea Paine lives in the Montreal area and works as a senior executive in Ottawa. She is the mother of three girls.
Diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007, she had a double mastectomy and reconstruction followed by eight rounds of chemotherapy.
An avid runner, doctors credited her good physical fitness for making it through the rigours of a 10 ½ hour operation, followed by the trials and tribulations of chemotherapy.
She started running the year before her diagnosis, and ran her first half marathon in Montreal six months later. She laced up her running shoes six weeks after surgery, and slowly started her running routine again.
One of the opportunities she was given through her diagnosis with cancer was to provide a positive example to her daughters. She continued working and ran as often as she could through chemotherapy. She changed as little in her regular routine as possible.
Andrea has always expressed herself through the written word, and hopes to continue to inspire; whether it’s to encourage others to lace up those running shoes or to face any other adversity, such as disease, through positive thinking.
She has also recently contributed towards a book featuring the inspirational stories of cancer survivors that will be published over the next few months in the U.K.
Running has continued to inspire Andrea, and has also become a means of contributing towards causes that raise money for cancer research, as well as funds to help patients pay for costly medication and to supplement their income. She is also available to give inspirational talks to cancer patients and survivors.
As I was writing a decision this afternoon, I thought of the funeral that was about to happen for a person I was fortunate enough to see on a regular basis over a number of years. Not fortunate to hav...
I have been writing about cancer surviorship and running for over four years now, and sometimes I find it hard to believe. When I first started writing the ideas just flowed from me. I was still a "fr...
February 4 was world cancer day. For the average cancer patient or survivor, it brings up mixed emotions. It's not really something we want to think about, but we can't really help it, with all the newspaper and television headlines there to remind us.
We said goodbye to 2013 a couple of days ago. For me, it was a bittersweet good-bye; sad because I have always been emotional with them, and happy because 2013 was a year of endings and new beginnings. And that type of year is filled with sadness, hardship, effort and joy.
Today is Cancer Survivor's Day. Not all cancer survivors will agree, but cancer gave me my life back. It was the wakeup call I didn't listen to when it was only a whisper. It encouraged me to look at my own life, and what was working and what wasn't.
I applaud Angelina Jolie for her bravery and willingness to share her experience with the public. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, six years ago, I was not aware of the extent of my family's history with the disease. I know how it feels to be there. And even if you're a movie star, those decisions remain the same.
It has been six years since my life took a drastic change with my diagnosis of breast cancer. Back then I was a forty five year old that had finally started taking her health more seriously....I had s...
Recently, a good friend of mine wrote me, wanting to introduce me to an esteemed colleague, and friend, who has cancer. She wanted me to meet him, and felt I would have a lot to share with him. She spoke to him about me as well. She shared this blog, and my history. She concluded with " Change is inevitable. Suffering is optional."
This week I did something that I hadn't done in longer than I'd like to admit. I went for a run. Now one would ask why I haven't gone out for a run in awhile; especially since I've been writing a blog...
At a time where most pre-teens and teenagers are worried about things like getting the newest electronic gadget or getting their hair and makeup just so, it's nice to see that there are young people that are aware of the impact that cancer, or other chronic diseases has on a family and loved ones.
The beach has always held a special place in my heart. When I walk on the sand and listen to the waves hit the shore, there's a veil of peace that covers me. It brings me joy and happiness...like I'm walking on clouds. When you find that special place, you know it.
You see, running was good for my health; even when I was weakened by surgery and chemo. Even when I had a high level of stress in my life. As hard as it may seem, continuing with an exercise regime improved my outlook, helped reduce my side affects from chemo, and lightened my mood.
The early signs of cancer are being ignored, and people are putting off going to see their doctors because of a variety of fears and their busy schedules. Having been through cancer, I can attest that nudging yourself out the door was the hardest thing I ever did. I was losing blood from a breast nipple. I knew it wasn't normal.
Being a cancer survivor for over five years now has significantly changed my perspective on life. I don't get stressed as much with situations, even serious ones such as this one, that are out of my control. The former me would probably have crawled under a rock with a blanket by now, a pair of earplugs firmly ensconced in her ears, and a thumb in her mouth.
A close family member recently had a heart attack and was rushed to the hospital. She passed away last Sunday. Ten days after suffering the heart attack. She had her last dance. Her name was on death's dance card that day.
When I was first diagnosed with cancer, I got brave and decided that I was not going to make any more resolutions. I made a promise to myself: to win my battle, succeed in my journey, and be around for another year. At year end I also gave thanks and felt the gratitude in my heart that I was around and thriving. This has worked out well for me. Until now.
The Christmas season was much different for me this year. I had another operation in mid-November, which was necessary and related to my reconstruction, but a blessing at the same time. It gave me the time leading up to the holidays to recover, de-stress and relax.
The result of having cancer changed my life, and this is why...If I hadn't been through cancer and the subsequent treatments, I wouldn't know who my true friends were. I wouldn't see with the same vision today. Being hit with this showed me just how resilient I am.
My newfound wisdom as a cancer survivor has shed the light on a little secret: we don't have to do all that work. I'm sure my family would have been just as happy to stay home, be less busy, and receive fewer presents. I am also certain that all they really wanted was for me to be there -- alive -- with them.
Since I have had my double mastectomy, there have also been a number of community-based organizations that have opened and that cater to cancer patients, survivors and their families. When you are a cancer survivor, you are forever embracing uncertainty and, at times, strong emotions. Your rational mind says you should be over thinking in that way by now.