Thomas Barwick via Getty Images
Holly Anissa Photography via Getty Images
Planning for a return to work after time away for cancer treatment can be a daunting and stressful task. Occupational therapist Leslie Gibson says patients often come to her with concerns about the transition - from worries about fatigue to forgetfulness and concentration to anxiety about how colleagues will act around them once they return.
BrianAJackson via Getty Images
My life was forever changed in one diagnosis: cancer. After 25 years, I had finally learned that the rash on my body was the precursor to a rare form of cancer called for Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma (CTCL) that would need to be treated with full-body radiation. My treatment plan was as unique as my diagnosis.
Brand New Images via Getty Images
The dark fear of living with cancer is like living with death on your horizon. For a long time I let myself feel like that was a certainty. First, before chemotherapy I took a stance of come what may. Since then, I've taken a more active line in trying to move away, and pursue a better, longer life. The truth was that until the appointments of this month I still had no long term vision. I was constantly repeating in my subconscious that radiation therapy was coming, to not be irrational and look into the future,but to stick in this moment and deal with it.
Sally Moskol via Getty Images
Alina had emergency brain surgery the next day to attempt to remove the tumour, or at least get a biopsy and help correct the spinal fluid flow in her brain. I assumed the worst would happen as I held her and laid her down on the operating table for the anesthesiologist. I did not know then that I would be the last thing she would see.
YunYulia via Getty Images
Joanne's health deteriorated significantly but her mettle remained strong. She so wanted to celebrate her last Hanukkah with Jack and the family. However as she entered the palliative care unit at Credit Valley Hospital we feared this would not be.
Early in this year's breast cancer madness, a friend posted a photo with a caption on my Facebook page. It depicted a slim woman, nude except for panties, arms raised, flying her (matching) black bra overhead. The caption: "Support breast cancer. Set the tatas free. Oct. 13 no bra day." I don't love it and here is why.
Jerod Harris via Getty Images
Her story is inspiring beyond words.
saintho via Getty Images
Harriette Thompson, 92, ran her 16th marathon in 7:24:36 last Sunday. Thompson zoomed past the previous record of 9:53:16 set by Gladys Burrill in 2010, making her the oldest female finisher on record...
This year, I decided to participate in my first Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer benefiting Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. I want to bring hope to those living with cancer and the people who surround them. I was given three to five years to live, and today I am living stronger, healthier and happier then ever, five years after my diagnosis.
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...
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.
My whole life, I have always cast a wide net when meeting new people. And the mesh was tight. All were scooped up, all were brought in close, barely any escaped through the tiny holes. I have been told I am friendly -- typically meant as a compliment -- but cancer taught me that even good things require moderation.
Early one bright sunny morning a year and a half ago, my wife died of cancer. For hours I held her pills in my hand, convincing myself that I had no reason to live. I've never had cancer but I'm a cancer survivor, nonetheless -- and there's good reason for that.
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.
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...
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.
Often, the media (and by extension, society) describe someone with cancer as a "warrior" who "battles" cancer. When we take the metaphor further, we describe it as "conquering cancer" when cancer goes into remission, or describe someone as a "survivor" of cancer. But what's the other side of that conversation? Someone who "loses" their "fight" against cancer? Someone who has "fallen"? And to take it to the extreme, would they have "made it" if they "fought harder"? There's a negative side to that language that is coming out, as those diagnosed with cancer speak up.
I never was comfortable with being called a cancer survivor. To me it gives too much power to cancer and not enough to the person. I like the term cancer veteran. Veteran is a much more active and participatory term than survivor.
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.
Bif Naked has made a career out of being a badass chick. Initially, it was by way of the late-'90s CanRock boys club, prowling Edgefest stages, infiltrating rock radio and even performing at the Hellm...
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.
I have been a cancer survivor for a little over five years. Throughout my journey, I have remained positive, sometimes scared, and at times frustrated. The base of it all, though, is my belief that I will thrive and live a healthy, full life. No matter how many rounds of chemo or radiation you have to endure, or follow-up surgeries you have to undergo, take heart.
I received a call in early January 2006 telling me that I had prostate cancer and suggesting a treatment -- surgery. As a 49-year-old healthy and, yes, hockey playing Canadian, cancer was the last thing on my mind Well they say things happen for a reason but I was having trouble figuring out just what that meant.
Once diagnosed with cancer, a patient's life will never be the same. Once the turmoil of the diagnosis, and the subsequent treatment, whether it's surgery, radiation or chemotherapy, is over life as we know it now commences. There are ups and there are downs. Luckily for me, the ups far surpassed the downs.
Looking back at this old life of mine, I realize how many of these fears, both big and small, were unfounded. But life as it is now, is seen through a cancer survivor's lens. Although I will be first to admit that there is the odd time when I have to stare fear in the eye, and fight to back it down, I fear much less today. Cancer has taught me a few things, and I don't scare easy.
Last week I was convocation speaker at the University of Toronto graduation ceremony where business students from the Mississauga campus received their BBA and BComm degrees. These are the remarks I made to the Class of 2012, on the topics of happiness, generosity and the value of kindness.
On August 3, 2012, I will celebrate being five years cancer-free. There are days where fear takes over, and it seems to be taking forever to make it to this milestone. Thankfully though, there's a good side to this story. It's the promise of a warm sunny day, and the peace of a lazy afternoon listening to the pitter patter of rain. It is the promise of a new day, and the feeling of gratitude for the one that just passed. It's about life.
It's vacation time! For two wonderful weeks I will try to switch off and not to think too much of my job. It's a time to connect on a deeper calmer and more relaxed way with my daughters. I will be vi...
Although cancer is not usually something that would predispose a person to rediscover their sense of humour, it ignited the spark that sent me on that path.