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Meet...Fiona

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Please take a moment to get to know Fiona, better known in our community as Aries,  and learn about her determination, stubbornness and positivity that help her take life one day at a time.

Hi, my name is Fiona and I was diagnosed with stage 4 Colorectal Cancer with mets to my Liver on February 25th, 2019 at the age of 40. To say I was blindsided by this would be an understatement, even though for about 14 months prior I had been dealing with some erratic bowel issues, Cancer was still far from my mind. It was also not on the mind of the doctor I saw either, my initial diagnosis was a flare-up of a bad gut bacteria and then 6 months later, this January, it was deemed to be IBS with no further testing. My age alone sealed in her mind that cancer wasn’t a thing.


A visit to the emergency room in February for what I thought was a strained rib muscle, ended up with a blood test indicating elevated Liver enzymes and a follow-up visit for an Ultrasound. And that’s when my cancer journey began.

I went through a range of emotions as I am sure everyone here reading this can relate too. Confusion, Anger, Frustration, Sadness, Devastation – at my age we make the assumption that we have decades of life ahead of us; how overly confident we are! Suddenly my life was looking to be a lot shorter than I ever imagined.

But these feelings soon changed – I decided that given I had no choice in the matter, there was no sense in dwelling or wallowing in the negative; I just had to get on with it and get myself treatment. Determination, Stubbornness and Positivity took over. And for the most part, I have maintained this same attitude for what it’s worth – I still have moments but they are few and far between. I have a strong conviction that I will get through this. We will see!

I was born in England and spent my childhood there and my teen years in France; my sister lives in England and my parents live in Bulgaria now. I have lived here in Canada for over 18 years; due to my hubby of 20 years being Canadian! I would say as a family we have restless feet! haha
I hope one day to return to England to be near my little nephews who are now 3 and soon to be 5 years old.


I love to travel; I am “grounded” right now, while in treatment so no trips to Europe any time soon unfortunately but road trips are still an option so that’s something. I get restless when I haven’t been somewhere in a while.

It hasn’t been easy having my family so far away; but thankfully with modern technology we are in constant contact. My spouses’ family has been amazingly supportive, they are my family too. My sister is going to visit in August and my parents are coming in September – I can’t wait to see them all.
One thing that has been interesting with this new path I find myself on is how much friends, family and colleagues have rallied around me. I get text messages, Whatsapp messages, emails from people often just to “check in”. Cancer has brought people together like never before. It is heartwarming and I feel truly blessed.

Chemotherapy Treatment is going well; minimal side effects thankfully and while I have a long haul yet, I am feeling good and hopeful for the future. I don’t know what is ahead of me, so I don’t paint pictures; I am just taking things one day at a time.

And while doing that, writing my blog to share this journey in the hopes to help others and to advocate for those under 50 to be health aware!

Thanks for reading!

Thank you so much Fiona for taking the time to share more about yourself and thank you for being a bright light in our community.




Comments

Thank you for sharing Fiona, I myself is starting the battle again with lung cancer. Reading this today with the one day at a time made me feel a bit better as today is my first treatment of chemo again. As like it seem for everyone I am unable to travel as well. Looking forward to it but I know will be awhile. Good luck and have fun with the family. 
  • Posted Mon 26 Aug 2019 06:09 AM EDT
it's so true that we must live one day at a time...
  • Posted Fri 30 Aug 2019 01:09 PM EDT
Hi Katz123‍ - I am glad my "one day at a time" comment helped you - it doesn't serve to think too far ahead, we don't know what it in the future. I hope chemo went well for you yesterday. 
Thanks ... I had a great visit with my sister.
  • Posted Tue 27 Aug 2019 10:18 PM EDT
Aries‍, thanks for sharing your cancer journey story...my cancer story began 4 years ago, when I was diagnosed with stage three ovarian cancer...it certainly is one day at a time, and the knowledge that my life may be a lot shorter than I had previously imagined...I have been working very hard to take care of myself and to listen carefully to my body...I believe that our bodies are full of wisdom, which can teach us a lot...
  • Posted Sun 25 Aug 2019 12:50 AM EDT
Hi princessmaura‍, I totally agree about your comment that our bodies are full of wisdom; they are built to fight all sorts of things. Fuel it right and it will help you fight disease and help you heal.
  • Posted Tue 27 Aug 2019 10:16 PM EDT
Hi Fiona what a wonderful blog, it is wonderful that you have family visiting this summer, you must be so excited.  I too love to travel, I spoke to my oncologist and got the ok from her, we are think Santa Maria Cuba in November, I’m thinking the hardest part for us cancer patients would be the insurance? I’m fortunate enough to still have benefits from my work. You are right by saying just take it one day at a time, I have the exact attitude. I hope you get to fly again someday, and like yourself, I am only 45, and when all this started with me and my leg, the last thing on the drs mind was cancer. 
David
  • Posted Tue 20 Aug 2019 04:47 PM EDT
Hi Dave,
That's great news that you can plan a trip by flight - I can't wait to get there too. Cuba will be amazing I am sure. I will look forward to hearing about it!
You have certainly become far braver and more optimistic since you joined our community - well done - a positive attitude and just taking one day at a time can make a huge difference! :)
  • Posted Sat 24 Aug 2019 03:36 PM EDT
Fun getting some background. You are an amazing lady. I regret that I didn't put more pressure on you to get to the Relay for LIfe. Next year?

Angus
  • Posted Sun 18 Aug 2019 11:51 PM EDT
:) haha ... totally! I enjoyed reading yours too Angus. There is such a connection in this community beyond anything I have ever experienced ... cancer may be the worst thing for us to deal with but it sure brings people together. I will definitely try to make it next year!
  • Posted Sat 24 Aug 2019 03:32 PM EDT
Fiona This is an important awareness issue that needs plenty of air time. We have problems that we either don't go to the Doctor to check out or we are misdiagnosed.
Like you for similar reasons I also was misdiagnosed for over a year.  Eventually a Gastrointestinal sent me for a CTSCAN. He thought I had an aneurysm so I was rushed in for the test. It wasn't an aneurysm but Non-hodgkins Lymphoma located mainly around the bowel area. If it had gone on longer I may not have been here 9 years later to talk about it.
You are young with a great spirit so you will do fine.
SpeedyStill 
 
  • Posted Sat 17 Aug 2019 07:23 PM EDT
Thanks Gerry! I am optimistic as I can be :)
  • Posted Sat 24 Aug 2019 03:28 PM EDT

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