A Pink Year
By Treena Fenniak
Just 2 years ago, I was pregnant with my first child and just starting a new position working at the University of Alberta. I had already worked for the University for several years (after completing my undergraduate and graduate studies there), and loved the atmosphere, the people, the campus. I was incredibly happy, anticipating the months ahead.
Suddenly, a crushing blow hit. I was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer, and everything stopped. But living in Edmonton meant that I would continue to have a life, and so would my baby.
My first visit to the Cross Cancer Institute was frightening, but soon I began to enjoy my weekly (and sometimes daily) visits. The dozens of friendly volunteers, the patient and gifted doctors, the incredible technicians and nurses, all made me feel cared for and safe. I was in treatment for almost year, and in that time, I built friendships with my caregivers; ones that I will never forget. Through the chemotherapy, the birth of my beautiful daughter, surgery and radiation, they supported me and my family with humour and kindness.
My employers at the University also made my life easier. Their amazing employee support programs, and the kind staff that handled my case, allowed me to focus on getting well instead of worrying about job security.
Now, almost 2 years since my diagnosis, my cancer is in full remission. I am back working for the University full-time and loving it.
I grew up in Edmonton, and I've always liked it here. But after being supported by so many of its citizens in so many ways, I know I'll never leave.
Breast Friends Dragon Boat Team Video:
Breast Friends are a group of breast cancer survivors who dragon boat race to raise awareness about breast cancer. The team began racing with one crew in 1999 and now has 73 active paddlers who paddle on 3 crews. Each member of Breast Friends is a powerful example that women can lead full and vigorous lives after surgery and treatment for breast cancer.
To see the Breast Friends in action at the Edmonton Dragon Boat Festival, check out the video below.