It is challenging to put into words what receiving a cancer diagnosis is like. It’s surreal, devastating, terrifying, earth shattering, incredibly isolating, and so much more. For two days after my diagnosis my parents kept saying “So the doctor found precancerous cells that they are removing right?” And I had to keep telling them, “No, I actually have rectal cancer – nothing is precancerous anymore.

We wanted to have a family in the future, so I had hormone therapy/egg extraction procedure and ovarian suspension surgery. Then I had brachytherapy radiation, surgery to remove my thyroid and left lymph nodes in my neck, surgery to remove my rectum and put into place a temporary ileostomy, radioactive iodine treatment, chemotherapy, and lastly my ileostomy reversal surgery. I felt scared and isolated from the “normal” world a lot of the time. Then my psychologist told me about the WICWC and it changed my entire cancer journey for the better.

“People fighting cancer should not have to go through it without having a place like the WICWC, where they can process and heal spiritually, emotionally, and physically.”

The classes provided a safe space for me to connect with others and do something fun/creative/enjoyable for myself. I loved the cooking classes, the sound healing, the informative seminars, and the exercise classes. Even though I was at a place called the West Island Cancer Wellness Center some classes were so fun that I actually ended up not thinking about cancer while I was there.

The exercise classes in particular were special. After every surgery or treatment I was frail and weak. Knowing that I was not the only one in the classes taking it slow and trying to recover made getting active again a lot less intimidating. Staying active turned out to be one of the main things that helped keep me mentally, physically, and emotionally at my best while fighting cancer.

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The specialists and surgeons are amazing and gifted – but they are concerned with your body and how to get the cancer out. That leaves the spiritual, emotional, and mental health of a cancer patient completely unaddressed. People fighting cancer should not have to go through it without having a place like the WICWC where they can process and heal spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Fighting is only half the battle – healing is just as important.

Today, I stay active because I know it has the power to keep me feeling good in every sense. Focusing on exercise and eating right helped me feel empowered throughout my cancer journey and after. I don’t need to live in fear of a reoccurrence when I can be taking steps (literally and metaphorically) every day to take control over my body. Having cancer taught me to slow down, enjoy life, and take the time to take care of myself. The WICWC played a big part in this.

Being diagnosed with cancer, fighting for your life, and trying to transition back to a “normal” life for those that are lucky enough to get to do so all require immense amounts of resilience. The WICWC provides a safe place for those experiencing cancer to learn how to harness that.


At the end of October I reached a huge milestone- my first full year of my cancer being in remission. I am also pregnant with our first child!