“I felt like I was doing what I needed to do to be proactive. Screening is something that’s always been extremely important in my family. My father is a long-time colon cancer survivor, and his twin sister passed away of breast cancer at 57. I was even tempted in December to call and reschedule. But then I felt guilty about the notion of moving it, with the “What if’s” so I was like, “No no, I’ll make it work” and I went in. And thankfully I did…
Just before Christmas, I had to go for an ultrasound and another mammogram. I’d had this experience before and it turned out to be cysts; I was expecting this to be the same thing. When the radiologist came in, and the nurse handed me a box of tissue, that’s when I was like, “this is different.” It was a bit of a shock. It definitely played on my mind all through the holidays.
I was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer on the 30th of January. Honestly, I felt a whole lot better once I knew what was happening. Once I had the results and all the cards on the table, I had a sense of comfort that I was in the right spot and the right people were looking after me, whereas that not knowing limbo, was, I think, far worse mentally and just trying to get through that was probably the worst part of the whole process.
My surgery was on the 14th of February. Going in and talking to Dr. Shakerinia (General Surgeon) the first time, I had a huge sense of comfort like it was some sort of sign because he was my dad’s surgeon almost 18 years ago. I always had so much respect for what he did in saving my dad’s life, that I just immediately felt like it was a comfort and all the steps were going to be taken.
Whether it was for surgery or chemo appointments, everyone I’ve encountered at The Moncton Hospital has made me feel pretty special. Even though you could see their fatigue, they still made me feel like the most important person there. The volunteers can’t do enough for you. Even the porters - the people who had to wheel me around the hospital - they always did it with such grace and humour. It was just amazing. I have so much respect for them, and I just want to make sure they know that.
After surgery, I kept my circle really tight for about two and a half months. I wasn’t really ready to speak about it publicly. But once I did, I actually felt a great sense of relief. That community and people reaching out to me, through private messages and through Facebook - it has really felt like a giant hug. It’s helped tremendously.
I also think it’s part of my responsibility for having been diagnosed with this illness to keep awareness top-of-mind. It just hits different when it’s somebody you know. Having certain people message me saying, “I’ve been putting off getting screened…” and realizing they need to get checked out… if it can help one person, then it would be worth it being public about this.
It’s that strength that I want my daughters and my husband to see and know that’s there, that I can do this and I can help others in the process."
– LANA HANSEN
Stage 2 Breast Cancer Patient
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