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Véronique describes herself as a positive, determined woman who loves to laugh and make people laugh. At age 31, she was diagnosed with mBC. As she navigates her thirties with her diagnosis, she is taking time to raise awareness and educate others about mBC.

This is Véronique’s story.

Diagnosis: After an annual check-up with my family doctor, I was asked to have a few additional tests. At first, she wasn’t concerned since there was no history of cancer in my family. As well, I’ve always eaten well, I work out regularly, I’ve never smoked, and I don’t drink. A few days later, the diagnosis came in: breast cancer.

At the time, and throughout the first few months of treatment, they couldn’t confirm my stage with any certainty. I got over the initial diagnosis fairly well, but the diagnosis of metastases, in September 2016 following intensive chemotherapy, was staggering for me. It was about five or six months after the first appointment. I was 31.

I was overwhelmed by the news. The diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer was much more difficult to accept than my initial diagnosis of breast cancer. The first time, I was in action mode. I saw it as a prescription to follow. Everything was going to go well, and I would be in remission quickly. But with this new diagnosis, I felt defeated in advance. They were telling me it was a battle that I couldn’t win.

Living with mBC: I'm usually an extrovert, but I turned inward. I didn’t know how to resume a normal life and cope with the cancer on an indeterminate basis. Fortunately, thanks to my remarkable family and friends and my dedicated team of doctors, I’ve regained my confidence little by little and rediscovered myself again, someone who is strong, determined and alive!

As soon as the process allowed, I wanted to get back to my regular activities. I play sports, of varying intensity, I travel and since the spring I have returned to work gradually. Even though resuming my so-called more regular activities is good for me, sometimes I am faced with special situations. At work, I’ve been asked 'What did you do to get cancer?' The lack of knowledge and tact appalls me and feels confrontational. I can’t simply ignore these people, I feel the need to teach them, raise their awareness.

With this in mind, I’d like people to know that cancer is different for each person. Cancer is full of nuances. Don’t be afraid of or stare at cancer patients, and absolutely don’t exclude them. Metastatic breast cancer is not well understood or explained. The more we educate people, the less afraid they will be, and the feeling of exclusion will lessen.

My concept of time has changed a lot since my mBC diagnosis. At 30, you think you have your whole life ahead of you, and that today’s choices will lead to tomorrow. Overnight, everything changes. But I don’t want cancer to take up all the space. Now, I’m at the awareness stage. I’m aware of those small moments when I feel good, and I live them to the fullest. I’m still who I always have been: a positive, determined woman who loves to laugh and make people laugh, and especially, one who makes the most of life!
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