Well… this amazing strong woman is just incredible… there are no words to describe her strength, heart, determination and perseverance! Jackie is a breast cancer warrior…. why warrior… read her story below. You will see how strong of woman she is.. for her children and husband. She shows what you can can do and achieve if you truly believe you can. She is a inspiration to me. She made me laugh, cry and be proud to be a woman. I am blessed to have had the opportunity to meet this strong lady. Jackie was nominated to be part of our Angel Program by a friend. The ANGEL PROGRAM was created by the talented Uyen Huynh hairstylist and I a number of years ago. The purpose – to celebrate, lift up and show women how beautiful and inspirational they are. Some have had cancer, gone through domestic abuse, rape, bullying, eating disorders… the list is long. We just want to show these beautiful ladies how inspirational their strength is – and to inspire others to stand up… to fight… to say no… to move on. I am blessed to be part of it. If you know of someone that would be a perfect fit for this program – PLEASE nominate them. Contact – firstname.lastname@example.org or call/text – 306-341-1527 Clothes by Tonic downtown Saskatoon Hair – Uyen Huynh Ninja Stylist Makeup – Ashley Carmen Kuysh
“My name is Jackie. I am married to a wonderful man and I have two beautiful kids; a girl and a boy, aged 4 and 2. When my son was just a month old, I woke up one morning with a sore right arm and a lump in my armpit. After treatment for an apparent infection, months later, with the lump in my armpit growing, and after 5 biopsies, I was diagnosed with breast cancer – spread to the lymphnodes and aggressive.
So came 8 rounds of chemotherapy, a double mastectomy and 25 radiation treatments. By March of this year, I was through treatment. The kind of cancer I have is quite likely to return, most often within 18 months to 3 years. On a positive note, if I make it to 5 years, the chance of recurrence is lower than with some other types of breast cancer.
The worst part of having cancer was that I have kids. But as it turns out, the best part of having cancer was that I have kids.
At first, it was overwhelming. Short term, I wondered how we were going to do it; get through treatment and keep life normal for the kids. Long term, I was flooded with thoughts about what might happen to them without me: the future, wondering if my son would even remember me if I die this soon, and picturing my daughter shopping for a graduation and wedding dress without me; to practical things, wondering if my husband would know how to buy clothes for them and worrying about my little girl having to go into a public washroom alone; to painful things like imagining them needing me, sick in the night or lost in a store, and me not being there to help them.
But it was concern about my kids that got me moving!
Determined to shield them as much as possible from what was happening, I had to rely on other people to help. This was hard, but it brought extra life and activity into the house, which kept me from wallowing. The things we couldn’t hide, we explained in the simplest of terms, which helped make them not seem so big for me too: sometimes people lose their hair, but it’s only hair; sometimes people have to go to the hospital, but it’s only for a short time.
Best of all, my kids like to dance, so I would dance with them each night before bed – in our pyjamas, all of us wearing my headscarves, to the Jukebox Oldies station. With numb feet, heavy legs, bald, and through thrush, stomach pains, skin rashes, aching teeth and sore bones, we danced. I felt better thinking that they would have this memory, as opposed to me laying on the couch sick, and it reminded me that I was still alive.
Thinking longer term, I had to make preparations – just in case. So, I focussed on strengthening my kids’ relationships with the family members who would step in for me if I can’t be here. I finished baby and family photo albums. I created memory boxes. I went through my house, cleaning out and organizing closets, purging old junk, and labelling items that I want to pass down to my kids. Anything that might make things easier for my husband, I did.
Doing these things gave me purpose and focus through some hard days of treatment. It also made me realize how lucky I am: seeing my kids get even closer to my family reinforced how lucky I am to have such a family; going through photos and keepsakes let me re-live some great days; organizing my house reminded me how blessed we are to have these physical comforts for our kids; and ‘educating’ my husband who would patiently listen to my lectures about how to care for the kids and run the house reminded me how blessed I am, and my kids are, to have him.
So, in the end, I thank God for my kids because they saved me, in every possible way. Focussing on them and their future got me through the daily drudgery of cancer, yes, but more importantly, it got me beyond the cancer to see that regardless of how long we live, what makes life worthwhile is having love and joy and purpose. My kids give me those things. I may or may not live long enough to dance at my son’s wedding, but that was true even without cancer. What I do have, and all that any of us have, is today. So, today, I pick up my son and we dance around the kitchen with my daughter at my side and all is good.”
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