25 Years Cancer Free! A crazy life story, starting again at 50 years old!

I have a crazy long life story that has led me to become a candlemaker. In 1999, I was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was 25 years old. At the time I was a pharmaceutical rep working in Saskatoon. I transferred to Vancouver with a new company after my first chemo/radiation/surgery treatments and within a year I was promoted to becoming a specialist rep. Not long after my promotion, I started having chest pains and a cardiologist that I was seeing as a specialist rep, offered to take me on as a patient. It was discovered that my congenital bi-cuspid valve was failing and I was going into heart failure. My surgery was scheduled in 6 weeks. My cardiologist prescribed bed rest. I had to undergo an emergency heart valve replacement. A day prior to having that surgery, I found out I was 7 weeks pregnant. The cardiologist said that unfortunately, the baby would not live through the surgery and my heart was not strong enough to wait 9 months. The surgery went ahead and amazingly my baby (now my 22-year-old daughter) lived. Four months after the heart surgery, while pregnant, I had a re-occurrence of breast cancer and it was inoperable. After much consultation with many specialists, we held off until my 3rd trimester to start chemo again. Amazingly, my daughter turned out to be perfect and healthy with a full head of hair while I was bald. Jade and I fought our way back and started to do speaking engagements for the Breast Cancer Agency. We were on the cover of Chatelaine Magazine, started a group called the Young and the Breastless with fellow young cancer survivors and even was flown down to New York to be on the Montell Williams show.

20 plus surgeries later, 6 rounds of chemo, radiation and another open heart surgery in 2012 - I have finally made my way back to the world of working people.  In 2018, I began making candles for friends and family. With every surgery and anesthetic I went under, more side effects occurred. I suffer from chronic pain, migraines, and sometimes lack of function in my arms. Running my own business was the only way I could conceive work as I could rest when needed and work unusual hours if needed.   I am well now, out of the woods and trying to start over. I have turned my hobby into a career. 25 years cancer free.