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“At age 30 and the mother of two, I think my biggest worries should be how I’ll convince my five-year-old to eat broccoli for dinner or heal her bumps and bruises with hugs and kisses,” says Shawna Roy. “It shouldn’t be worrying if I’ll get to see my children grow up.”
Shawna is 31 and a breast cancer survivor.
“In December 2015, I found a lump in my breast,” Shawna recalls. “I received a call two days before Christmas, I had stage two cancer. I would need more tests to determine if it had spread.”
Shawna opted for a single mastectomy that January. “During my surgery, Dr. David Lamont also removed fifteen lymph nodes for testing,” said Shawna. “Thankfully, they were clear of any cancer.”
“Dr. Lamont was incredible. He’s truly my hero and he still follows my case.”
Two weeks after her surgery, she made her one and only visit to Sudbury to see an oncologist. Her treatment plan included chemotherapy. Because she was so young, it was recommended to proceed more aggressively.
“I was told I wouldn’t be able to have any more children after chemo,” said Shawna holding back tears. “Thankfully, I had my children young. My heart breaks for people my age that are given the news they won’t be able to have children. Cancer affects your life in ways beyond what you can image.”
Being a young mother and business owner brought its own set of challenges. Shawna operates a home daycare, which she had to give up during her treatment. While she remained at home with her girls, Kayla who was two at the time and Chloe who was five, she was unable to lift anything – a struggle with an active three year old.
“It was a difficult time for me, but I had to be a role model for my girls,” said Shawna. “What if this ends up happening to them one day? I was up every morning with them to make breakfast, even if I was too sick myself to eat. We went outside to play and continued activities like soccer.”
Shawna is now in remission.
“I had so many tests throughout my treatment. I underwent central node mapping before my mastectomy – which is probably the worst experience of my life. I’ve had chest x-rays, bone scans, ECGs, ultrasounds of all my organs, blood tests and mammograms. I can’t imagine if I had to travel for that care.”
“It’s so important to have these services available locally. Having care, close to home, allowed me to more easily make arrangements with my mother to care for my girls. No one had to take time off work to drive me to my appointments. That could have potentially been a huge financial burden.”
“We need these resources close to home. And when you have two little kids, close to home is where you want to be.”