Survivor Stories 2015:
1. How did you first find out you had cancer?
I went for a routine mammogram. My doctor told me I was “at that age” and it was time to do them regularly. There was no lump, but the mammogram showed micro-calcifications.
2. How did you react when you heard the news?
When I first found out, I was totally devastated! I was terrified, overcome with sadness and very very angry! I had just started living my dream…how could this happen?! But once I was finished with that, I was even more determined to live my dream!
3. What course of treatment were you prescribed?
I had a med port installed in my chest, lymph nodes were biopsied, followed by a lumpectomy. After that, I had 4 rounds of chemo. One every 3 weeks. In between those sessions, I was getting two treatments of large doses of vitamin C by IV, which made me feel fantastic! Then I had 6 weeks of radiation.
4. What most surprised you about your treatment?
I was really surprised that it wasn’t as bad as I had expected. Sure, I lost my hair, had some nausea and some burnt skin from radiation. But my doctors were rock stars and did everything in their power to make the process as easy as possible.
5. What would your advice be to anyone who’s just received a cancer diagnosis?
Reach out to women who have already been there! They are a great source of knowledge and strength! Take someone with you to every appointment to take notes for you. There is just so much information to process and I would miss a lot of what was being said. The notes my friends took for me were invaluable! Laugh. Laughter was what kept me from crying when I got overwhelmed. Have people around you that help you laugh.
6. How long have you been cancer free?
My last day of treatment was December 24th, 2013. So on December 24th, 2015 will be 2 years for me.
7. What lessons did you learn from the experience?
The biggest lesson for me was to let people help me and to ask for help as well. That was really hard for me. But when I allowed people to help me, it also helped them to feel involved in my fight. I also learned that, NOW is the time to live my dream!
8. If you could send one message to all the Good Enough Mothers out there — what would it be?
Live your dreams now….you never know what will happen tomorrow, so now is the time. You are worthy of that!
Tracy Bonin is originally from Red Deer, Alberta, Canada. In 2012, she gave up everything she owned, packed up the trunk of her car and drove to Bucerias, Nayarit, Mexico to live her dream. A dream of sun, sand, surf, palm trees and to be an artist. Her cancer diagnosis came 11 months after that move. It only made her more determined to live that dream. All her treatment was done in Mexico, and she doesn’t regret one single second of it! So now she lives, loves and paints in a sleepy little Mexican beach town and life has never been so good!
She volunteers with a group called, Cancer de Mama. This group provides Mexican woman that have had breast cancer with bras, prosthesis, wigs, scarves, hats, make overs and clothing, all for free! She feels very blessed to be a part of this wonderful group!