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Meet Klay...

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It is February and time to meet another member. Please take a monet to read about Klay's extensive cancer experience and the people and words that help her through it.

Hello, my name is Karen, and I am currently 54 years old.

My cancer journey began in 2017.

After being dismissed for a menorrhagia by my family doctor (he said that I was just perimenopausal) I was encouraged by my best friend, Jodi, and my husband to go get a second opinion. I felt sneaky, he had never let me down before, he delivered both my children, how could he be wrong? But my best fried, Jodi, worked for a group of family doctors and made me an appointment with a female doctor for me. She took all this very seriously and immediately sent me for an ultrasound and bloodwork. The ultrasound showed something wrong with my uterus and sent me for an appointment with an OB/GYN.
The OB/GYN performed a biopsy and concluded the tumor that was found was pre-cancerous. But she had me see an oncologist to make sure. This all happened very quickly. I saw the oncologist December 2017. He concluded that I needed to have a hysterectomy but told my husband and myself that there was 99% chance I did not have cancer. These were great odds!!
March 2018 a hysterectomy was scheduled to be performed by the OB/GYN team. Within minutes of the surgery beginning, cancer was found. Decisions needed to be made.:

Medi-vac  me to the cancer hospital or proceed. My surgery was done by the OB/GYN surgical team and via SKYPE with a team from the cancer hospital.
I was now in recovery. I remember looking at the clock and wondered why it was 3:30 PM. Was I asleep that long? My husband came in and said wow that was a lot longer than I expected. I assured him that I was fine and to go home and rest.
15 minutes later my life forever changed. The one surgeon came in and said I have something to tell you and the other surgeon wishes she were here too. Karen you have cancer. We will need to aggressively fight this and you need to get your affairs in order.


The hysterectomy turned into a radical hysterectomy and cancer was found on my bladder, bowels, ovary, and uterus. I was Cancer? Are you crazy? I don't get sick. Then it all turned to white noise. I was told to sleep...sleep? I now had the ominous task of telling my husband, my kids... My husband told his family, my family and my friends. He rushed back to the hospital to be with me.
The final pathology came in and it was believed that they had "gotten it all" and removed quite a bit of tissue, lymph nodes and I was clear. Divine intervention or pure luck. I believe a little of both. HRT was prescribed , but I stopped that as it caused many bad side affects to me personally.
Post op follow up 2 month later, blood work shows my iron is dangerously low. My family doctor now arranges for me to see a general surgeon. She arranges for a mammogram, colonoscopy, and endoscopy.  I also inform her that I am bleeding rectally.
So in July 2018 she performs the endoscopy and colonoscopy. She concludes that she found something on the scope in the small bowel, that I would need to be seen by a gastroenterologist and that my large bowels/colon was clear. I asked then why I was bleeding "down there" she said I don't know...that was it...
So I now go see the gastroenterologist. He is now monitoring a small lesion in my small bowel. He removed it for biopsy found it was pre-cancerous and that he would monitor every 3 months. He had the report that the colon was clear.

But in the meanwhile, I was in excruciating pain, I had back pain, pain in my abdomen and I was bleeding worse than ever! This is January 2019.
I was sent by my family doctor to the hospital. They performed a CT scan, and I was now sent to another general surgeon (he is the DR I saw in emergency). He concluded that I had a massive, perforated hernia and to lose weight and that the rectal bleeding was "in my head". He dismissed me as he doesn't do hernia repairs and wouldn't entertain the idea of another colonoscopy.
It is August 2019; I was going for my endoscopy re-check. After he is concerned because new lesions formed, and they required further checks. I mention to him that I am bleeding rectally. I never had before because 2 other surgeons told me it was in my head. He believed me and saved my life.
He is associated with a different hospital and sent me for another CT scan and blood work. It was early October 2019. 2 days after the CT scan was done, he called my husband and I down to his office. Karen you have colon cancer. It is bad and has grown into the wall of the intestine. I need to remove it right away. its larger than a grape. My husband asked if it grew that quickly from the colonoscopy done less than a year ago? He said been growing slowly, maybe over 10 years, It was missed by this general surgeon, missed by the radiologist reading the CT scan at the other hospital and dismissed by an uncaring surgeon.
So the procedure was done and the tumor was removed and sent for biopsy. Some the wall and the bowel was removed and then he arranged a follow-up with a colon oncologist from the hospital he works at. She concluded that at that time a colostomy bag was not needed and that the following protocol would happen. A full MRI every year (because NO follow up was provided by the OB/GYN). CT scan every 3 months and that I would have a recheck of the mammogram and that I would have a colonoscopy every 3 months.

It is now 2020 (was this going to be MY year of healthy?).

The cancerous lesions in the small intestine are now spreading (endoscopy was done end of March) is COVID.
I am now informed that I will see an oncologist for the small bowel. So now my cancer is divided to top floor/bottom floor. The surgeon performed a biopsy on my pancreas (April 2020) and now sends me to the oncologist. His concerns were: my previous cancers and the fact that it was spreading. At the end of May 2020 I was admitted to the cancer hospital and I had the following:
bowel resection
bowel reconstruction
gallbladder removed
half my stomach removed.
I was in surgical ICU for 1 week. I had small dose radiation done immediately.

July 2020. I am no longer needing chemo or any further radiation.
BUT I had a problem. I couldn't (still can't) keep food down. The surgeons do not know why. I have had endless tests done. It is thought that the hernia is looping because the perforation is 12 inches. On January 28, 2021 I go for hernia repair and another biopsy. Hopefully, I will only be in the cancer hospital for 3 days!

What can you take from this? I hope it is to be your own advocate and voice. If you don't feel well, make sure you have a great team around you. Ask questions (I didn't). I assumed everyone knew better than me.
My words of wisdom are:
-be kind to yourself.
-find beauty in small things.
-tell those you love, how you feel often.
-thank those that love and support you
-be grateful to live in a Country that takes care of the sick
-find wisdom in others
-write a gratitude journal (my daughter and I now have my family doing it)
-reach out to places like CancerConnection for help.
-vent, cry, be angry, be hopeful, be sad, be grateful, find blessings in big or small things, live your best life, dream, do whatever makes you happy. And just know you are NEVER alone.
Words that inspire me:
"When your path demands you walk through hell, walk as if you own it" Unknown
"Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We only have today-Let us begin"-Mother Teresa.
My supporters:
My AWESOME husband and AMAZING kids inspire me everyday. I am in awe of their strength and support.
My family and my husband’s family.
My sister-in-law Leigh who volunteers for the Cancer Assistance Program and helped me get things I needed for home health care.
My best friend Jodi (she saved my life by not allowing me to take no for an answer) and for just being there for me. She truly is an angel.
My family Doctor. Her kindness and compassion are beyond anything I have ever experienced.
My gastroenterologist. He saved my life twice. How do you ever thank someone for that? He is truly an amazing human being.
Both of my current oncologists, their staff, the many health care workers who show me so much kindness. The nurse who brought me tea from her home to try and help my tummy after surgery and the awesome dietitian who slipped me extra yogurt(yep that’s one of the small blessings).


I play guitar – my husband bought me a new 3/4 Martin 6 string as it is smaller than my other guitars and doesn’t press my tummy...between he and I and our son I think we have 15 guitars lol oh and my mandolin.
I walk with my daughter nightly and spend tons of time with her. She is a PHD student and teaches at the University and I am so proud of her. My son is waiting patiently to start a firefighting course and the pride is equal of him.
We love being at our home away from home in Parry Sound and going on our boat (I couldn't last year because of post surgery).


I wish you all well. We are a family here. I am SO thankful to CancerConnection for helping me and for all the GREAT friends I have found.
@Speedystill that's you!!

"let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile, is the beginning of love"-Mother Teresa
"be strong. be fearless. be beautiful. and believe that anything is possible when you have the right people to support you"-Misty Copeland

Much love,

Thank you so much for sharing with us Karen and for being a light to others in the community.


OH Klay 😭 wanting to cry . You must be eager to stand on the dock , untie your boat go cruising arm in arm with your love & dogs there . Send us a pic as ice breaks up making all those chandelier crystalline squishy sounds . . I would be inclined to say in my loss of the right concise words , you must of felt too a bit miffed and a lot angered for useless physicians I feel cancer patients should report t❗️As 😢I pondered your tremendous fortitude of shared cancer living account that I usually have tried being light hearted .For you living this , every moment as you bled wondering what was going on and to travel again more uncertain how you would be received at each place to see your doctors. And travel through , in what must of been some storms of snow is enough of a worry with kids lives in school too . When the going got tough you got tougher ❗️With family alongside, their work , studies and lives to keep grounded . Which, takes both Wisdom and Wit too❗️👍💪🙏 Elle 29 Sending HEALING Prayers with with more medical healing but less invasive treatment solutions .Amen
Ok blah blah blah found my thoughts to voice , the rest u can read at your leisure as I too have many questions .
HUGs to you at cottage country off of Georgian Bay. I would zoom along some of that shore from my parents cottage near Algonquin to get back to work in Fergus ON . How tremendously STRONG 💪 your ENDURANCE has been and to have the tight love 💕 of hubby together with you in love and driven your going to survive this because you needed to , wanted to just live . And get through ALIVE with so many surgeries sifting through doctors like sand to be treated not used . Only to be disappointed more stand together stronger . Has been amazing iron will since 2017 ❓What hospitals there did u go too ❓
For family youth to see your suffering too bravery , to carry on just to live thinking one surgery was over and bleeding more into more discovery , of more surgery. Did they refer u to specialist or your dear friend ❓With more gut wrenching pain of more symptoms in other body locations . And through more onslaught of bleeding more and with such a loving husband who did not give up on you as mine did . What possible hospitals from there did you or they sent u to use from there into TO ❓
Other daily practical matters . Eg Needing to make sure your transport vehicle was in good use and ready any time in frigid weather to ,roads possibly not plowed yet . Having lived in ON winters somehow your family kept it together to do this in your uncertainties what on earth was going on and his wife a mother bleeding when surgery was done with . I cannot logically think the time line or where you would of stayed to get to appointments on time too . So tender and weak dragging your self , from more invasive medical treatment surgery to save your life again . Any extended family alive ❓In one more time in hope , 🤼‍♀️ from the monster cancer in your body and fight to live again to heal through this . My heart sinks for you yet lifts you up in being a miracle of faith , hope and unbelievable STRENGTH 💪. that prevails to hang on and get up carry on and live .Wanting that monster out did they suggest to do radiation and chemo
Know that your not alone your Spirit is only written in books from which great leaders , heroines and movies are made .. BE Healing the direction you want and need telling this to doctors this is waht u prefer even if u do not know it exists , TO ASK now knowing .
How grateful we R for a friend like you to bring this into the light . Enjoy being back home , rest put your feet up warmed by the fire , cuddled , and watching the sun set over towards the west as I wave back in Eagles 🦅 strength . Someday come to see the rest of Canada with your hubby as u wish by train , plane or pick up an RV in Alberta drive to ur Canadian Island. , who loves you so much. Enjoy Valentine's Day preciously together laughing . Do you suspect what caused this all of that ravage of cancer to continue to grow in your body and did they find out to test this being put back together is amazing skill of their hands and medicine you must be so grateful for but also must been either afraid of themselves .Yet confident you could go through this happy to be alive and better once again ❓🦦 I PRAY anti cancer medications are proceeding in a Treatment Plan so that May springs to renew you hand in hand walking or stationary biking to keep cells moving to rebuild your body parts . Amen : ) As it's not enough to wait but insist what more to do and 💩 stool samples to give to your lab and track . And so this does not continue growing ❓U will also hear of others perhaps something similar on FB Cancer Survivors and Supports. The American manual they fo by for diagnosis and that our Canadians physicians work with south of the border because they are ahead with a larger American income base 👍 Shoutout to the world " I am alive❗️" Continue to "be kind to you 💝 ❗️" Hugging that man in your life embracing those you birthed and continue , sending us tunes with your Mandolin guitars , to distract yourself in music expression and fitness because baby you have proven yourself to be a Wonder Woman 😊
  • Posted Thu 04 Feb 2021 06:53 PM EST
How much do I love you 💜 your messages always make me smile.
I am once again post op just having surgery January 28th
I'm struggling with pain and I'm still feeling nauseous and still I don't have a functioning digestive system and bowels...but I did for a CT scan in a couple of weeks.
I will definitely send you some pictures when we are north...We are on Mill Lake and it is so beautiful there.
I haven't lost faith in the system even though I feel like there have been many fumbles. The extraordinary treatments I have received at Juravinski and Oakville hospital outweigh all the bad experiences at the other hospital.
I pray that you are well and wished you lived close by to come see me..covid ...pfffttttt.
Thinking of you always
Much love
Karen ❤
  • Posted Sun 14 Feb 2021 11:36 PM EST
Thank you for sharing. I hope you have a swift recovery. Your story shows how important it can be to advocate for ourselves. Thank you again.
  • Posted Tue 02 Feb 2021 04:36 AM EST
Thank you so much ❤
I was definitely naive when this first started and then the more I spoke to people I realized I had options and that it was ok to ask questions and in general just question the doctors.
I wish I knew about cancer connect along time ago. My family doctor recommended for me to sign up , ask questions and seek support.
I do have very jugs sweet friends but remember one said once..I know someone who had this wrong and well they died...that's not the support I needed.
I'm so thankful to ask of all have your own issues going on but take time for thank you ❤
Blessings for a great day
  • Posted Tue 02 Feb 2021 03:01 PM EST
klay‍  - such a pleasure to meet you! Wow, after all you have been through your courage and strength shines through so clearly. You give me (and many others) hope and encouragement to advocate and be sure you have answers to your concerns addressed. My daughter recently had an ultrasound for uterine issues and while we stumbled through the results online we have no clue what it all means. She speaks to the doctor tomorrow and I told her that after she gets her answers and while we hope so much that it is just normal problems of hormones etc., I told her to tell the doctor that with her cancer history of her paternal grandmother, her father and her brother, that her mom is very worried so don’t drop the ball on this one because he will be hearing from her mom in a big way!

May you heal quickly and continue to be filled with the love of your family and friends. Thank you so much for sharing here with us. It is such a gift you have given us!

Warmest hugs
  • Posted Tue 02 Feb 2021 12:59 AM EST
klay‍ - Here you are recovering from yet another surgery and giving your heartfelt support to others. Such a gift are you and to let you know my daughter talked to a doctor today that is taking very good care of her and she has been referred to OBGYN and all of her issues are being taking care. We are very relieved. Please get some good rest and I hope you can find some fun in every day that is ahead for you. 

Hugs and love to you and your family 🌼🌺❤️
  • Posted Wed 03 Feb 2021 04:16 AM EST
Trillium‍ ‍ 
I will keep your daughter in my thoughts and I pray the doctors very quickly find the answers she needs.
I am so glad that you will be an advocate and support :)
I always tell my daughter that even though she's a grown up she'll always be my baby girl
Please keep us updated on everything! And give all my love to your daughter and as always to you.❤
  • Posted Tue 02 Feb 2021 02:56 PM EST
Thank you so much 💗 I hippie you had an amazing inspire me! And others...we are all a family here
  • Posted Tue 02 Feb 2021 12:07 AM EST
Hi klay‍ 
Thank you for writing such a strong and profound story. You leave me in your dust.
I hope you continue to extinguish all which dares stand in your way 
  • Posted Mon 01 Feb 2021 11:55 PM EST
Thank you law‍ 
Its for all the love and support from cancer connections that i keep‍  going :)
  • Posted Mon 01 Feb 2021 11:57 PM EST

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