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Amber’s Story

  October 29, 2019

I am a 43-year-old wife to John of 12 years and a very proud mom to Amelia 10, Matteo 6, and Joey 4.

On March 13, 2019, my life changed in ways that I couldn’t even fathom at the time. Out of the blue, I experienced hearing loss in my right ear and pins and needles up my right side; something I had never experienced before. I called my husband who took me to the emergency department at the hospital. I proceeded to lose the ability to speak coherently, however, in my mind I was speaking clearly. The doctors at the hospital thought I was having a stroke and proceeded with stoke protocol treatment. A CT and MRI later determined that I did not have a stroke but there was a spot on my left temporal lobe that concerned them. Fast forward over 6-8 weeks, there were several tests, including another MRI. This time showing a lesion was forming. I saw a neurosurgeon who informed me that I needed to have it surgically removed as soon as possible. On August 31, 2019, I had brain surgery to remove what was, by then a tumour. I live in Ontario so I was sent to Hamilton for treatment. I met with doctors who informed me that I did have a Grade 3 tumour, cancer.

The outpouring of support I have received from family and friends has been overwhelming, to say the least. I have learned that if someone offers help in any form to accept it. Swallow your pride or your illusion of wanting to retain control and let the people that care and love you help you. It has helped me stay positive and strong. I will fight this with everything I have and I know I can because I have a team rallying behind me. It has also helped with my husband and kids. It’s millions of small things, rides to kids’ activities, so their lives remain just as they were before I got sick, a friend dropping off a batch of muffins or a ride to the grocery store, not anything major, just little fantastic gestures that show people care.

There are moments when I realized how much I took for granted, it’s strange how a cancer diagnosis can put everything in life into perspective. I focus on what really matters now and don’t sweat the small stuff. Keeping a positive attitude and tackling each day’s challenges as they come is the key, I think, to beating cancer. I don’t feel sorry for myself or question “why me”. It is me! It’s like getting dealt a bad hand of cards, I can’t change them but I can play the best game of poker I can and win, even if I have the bluff. I will win!

I’m sharing my story to support Hats for Hope. I chose to share my hat photo to signify the active lifestyle I had before cancer, the active life I try to maintain now and the life I plan on continuing when this is behind me. My daughter Amelia and I both love to ski and cycle so I chose a picture of us skiing.

I have just 2 weeks left of radiation and chemo in pill form then a 4-week break from both. After that chemo every 5 days with 25 days off for 6 months to a year. My battle is far from over so this story is to be continued…