Breast Cancer Awareness Month - Kim's Story

October is #breastcancer awareness month. There has been significant progress in breast cancer research over the past 20 years, but more than 70 Canadians are still being diagnosed with breast cancer each day. Here at AEC this topic hits close to home. Read Kim’s story below. If you would like to learn more or donate to the research of breast cancer visit

“October 7, 2015 was the date of my first round of chemo. I was 34 years old, with a 3-year old daughter to take care of with my husband, thankful that modern medicine would afford me the best odds in history to survive cancer. Looking back in my calendar to find the exact date for accuracy in this post made me nauseous. There are so many of these instances, of dates coming near and passing, that cause this feeling.

One of the things I struggled with most, was how will I spend my life without constant fear of recurrence? I haven’t found the answer yet, but I am happy to say that I do not spend my days worrying about dying. There are moments, yes, but life is busy and one thing I have learned is that time spent worrying is time wasted not doing something more lucrative.

This theme carries throughout my life now. It’s akin to the age-old cliché that life is too short. Literally, every day spent being miserable or worrying about something you cannot control, is a day wasted. I didn’t quit my job and travel the world, or make any serious life changes, really. I changed how I view the world, how I view my time spent, how I view the relationships I’m in. Shout out to my husband for putting up with my changing views of the world!

At the time of my diagnosis, we were planning a second baby to complete our family. Thanks to our awe-inspiring friend who carried for us, we did complete our family with the addition of our son late last year. It felt like a piece of my cancer journey came to an end with his birth. I look forward to more closure as time goes on, so much so that maybe some days I will forget it even happened.

At my age, the threat of cancer was not on my mind. I am blessed to have a stellar medical team, both at the GP level and the oncology team at Sunnybrook’s Odette Cancer Centre, who addressed my diagnosis swiftly and aggressively. I understand that not everyone is as lucky. I encourage everyone, regardless of age, to self-check, be proactive about your own healthcare, have regular checks by your doctor and seek further testing if you feel your concerns are not being addressed.”

-Kim vanVliet