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Meet...Elaine

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Please take a moment to get to know one of our valued contributors here on CancerConnection-
Elaine, aka LPPK. She is often seen around the community in our Leisure Group cracking jokes, sharing poetry, and photography. Elaine's warmth and caring shine through in her posts and we are so happy she is part of our community!



Teaching has always been my passion and I have been lucky enough to work in the field both paid and volunteer for almost 40 years. As a public school teacher I taught kindergarten through grade 8 classrooms and as the school music teacher. My favourites grades were kindergarten and grade 2. As a volunteer I was a coordinator and teacher of preschool gym, swim and craft at the YMCA, a La Leche League leader, editor of the Canadian LLL newsletter, and treasurer for Ottawa Chapter of Carl Orff. Music is another passion. I taught piano and the Music for Young Children program in my own studio.


My husband John, of 42 years, and I have three grown children (Erin, Christina and Alex) and four grandchildren (Hazel, Gerry, Elsie and Peter). Even though they live in Montreal, Kingston and Eastons Corners we all get together several times a month. We have lived in Ottawa, Chatham, London and now on the family farm in Eastons Corners. We are both retired and farm full time with our apple orchard and a pick your own blueberry patch. I enjoy working outdoors, and talking with our customers. 


 

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Enjoying the sun in Key West, Florida​



 
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At the age of 58 I noticed a spot on my arm that just didn’t look right. Even though the dermatologist said it looked fine I insisted that it be removed. My mother died from melanoma at the age of 37 so I have always been vigilant observing any skin changes. Six months later the spot was finally removed and sure enough it was melanoma. I then had to go back for a larger area to be removed, to get good margins, and that was all that needed to be done. Coolibar clothing UPF 50, a Tilley Hat UPF 50 and SPF 60 sun screen has became part of my dressing routine. The silver lining to having melanoma is that my children and their children are now very conscious of protecting themselves from the sun. One daughter and my husband have both had precancerous spots removed.


Then in July of 2017, at age 64, a 5 mm lump was found during a routine mammogram at the Ontario Breast Screening program. A recall mammogram, ultrasound, and core biopsy followed. The diagnosis… I had Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. A radioactive ion injection, lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy resulted in removal of the cancer with good margins and showed no involvement in the lymph nodes. The Oncotype DX test results indicated that I did not need chemo. So finally almost 5 months after my mammogram my 16 radiation treatments started. My diagnosis and treatment journey wound its way through 5 different hospitals (Brockville, Perth, Smiths Falls, and 2 in Ottawa). I was seen and treated by my GP, a radiologist, a surgeon, a medical oncologist and 3 radiation oncologists (maternity leave locums), many nurses and radiation technicians. At the end of May I will be going to the Wellness after Cancer Program. Then I wait for my summer mammogram to see if the surgeries and radiation have been successful.


I found that the waiting time for appointments, tests and their results, and treatment to begin very difficult. I was surprised at how very fatigued I was from the radiation. My husband was an awesome support; driving me everywhere, keeping my spirits up and being totally agreeable to helping with the decluttering and painting of rooms that helped to keep me sane during the waiting periods and again after the treatments. John insisted we go to Florida three weeks after the end of radiation. While still fighting fatigue I found the warm sunshine and company of my brother and sister in law the perfect way to chase away the cancer doldrums and regain my joy for life.



 
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Just look at my happy relaxed smile.

 
Having had cancer has brought about lifestyle changes for the better. My 18 for 2018 has really helped me to focus on what is important to me. Both John and I are enjoying the slower pace of retirement. An increase in veggies and fruit, more fish and less meat, with desserts only on rare occasions has been a big change to our diet. We have even lost a few extra pounds. Snacking is now almost non-existent (only sometimes when we have company). Yoga and breathing techniques are natural now for me to help relieve stress.


As a way to give back I had a fundraiser for breast cancer research. I gathered, sorted, and priced all my teaching materials, books, toys, and games for a garage sale. My two daughters and four grandchildren helped out at the sale.



 
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Thank you Elaine for taking the time to share more about yourself and your wonderful family with our community!




Comments

Hi Elaine, you are an inspiration to us all.  Such great stories too.
I had IDC too mascectomy left breast with 2 lymph removal negative but HER+ etc.,Chemo 3 months last yr and hercepton injections until April this year now on Letrozole for 5 yrs.  Im too 58 yrs of age, alot of personal stress in my life too everyday is a struggle but Im trying to stay positive.

My friend lives in Smith falls too  Im hoping to visit her this summer.  

take care and be well in your journey.

Cindy
  • Posted Mon 18 Jun 2018 09:31 PM EDT
elaine your are a angel here on earth 
ur are every woman guardian angel and a true inspiration i was diagonsed with invasive mammary cacieroma stage 2 breast cancer when i was 30 yrs old 3 weeks after i was done all my chemo treatments done i had my left breast removal  im on injections now and the letrozole for 5 to 10 yrs 
trying to deal with it all is hard but im doing the best i can trying to stay positive, god bless u and your beautiful family amazing pictures 
  • Posted Thu 13 Sep 2018 01:20 AM EDT
Thanks for sharing your story, Elaine.  I'd say you are doing everything right and have an amazing and supportive family behind you, every step of the way!
  • Posted Tue 08 May 2018 09:43 AM EDT
Elaine, your journey is inspirational. Thank you for sharing with us . Great pictures !
  • Posted Mon 07 May 2018 06:08 AM EDT
You are an amazingly brave lady, an inspiration to us all, and you give great advice to people!!!!
  • Posted Sun 06 May 2018 10:26 PM EDT
You really know how to live well, Elaine!  You're an inspiration!
 
  • Posted Sat 05 May 2018 01:43 PM EDT

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