Shannon Martin of Saskatoon recently marked an anniversary no one wants to have.
It’s been two years since she was diagnosed with breast cancer. The occasion could have been a sombre one. Not for Shannon! She’s choosing to see her cancer journey in a different light.
“This is like a club that I joined that I would never want anyone to have to join, a cancer club. But it’s almost like a membership I would never get rid of now. I’ve learned so much and I just feel like a better person because of this whole journey.”
Shannon’s journey began in May of 2018 after finding a lump in her breast. Many tests later and a call from her long-time family doctor confirmed her suspicion.
“He just kept apologizing, that’s what I remember is he kept saying, ‘I’m so sorry.’ He’s been my family doctor since I was a little kid, so he was just beside himself,” Shannon said.
Her medical team said the cancer was very treatable. Shannon would still have to undergo a double mastectomy, six rounds of chemotherapy and five weeks of radiation. Through it all, she knew there would be low points. Her family, friends and co-workers were there for her. She also had a mindset that when it was over, things would be different.
“I’m not going to come through all this treatment and all this sickness and not be a better person for it. Because then it’s for nothing.”
Shannon’s last radiation treatment was January 16, 2019. She says her health is good, other than a bit of fatigue.
Like every patient needing radiation, Shannon experienced first-hand a CT Simulation. This important procedure was used by her treatment team to plan her radiation therapy. As part of the process, dots were tattooed on her. They ensure proper alignment when the radiation is delivered by a linear accelerator. The dots are a positive reminder of where she is now in her life.
“I want to be reminded because it’s like a second chance at life for me to not be working so much. I am prioritizing my life again,” she says.
Having experienced a CT Simulator first-hand, Shannon knows how important the equipment is. For her, replacing the machine she experienced with a modern 4D CT Simulator is very important. To her, it can mean the difference in beating cancer.
“You know that it’s going to help someone like me have that second chance at life. Be able to go to my nieces’ games, be able to see them grow up. If we didn’t have technology like this, then I wouldn’t be living with joy that I am right now,” Shannon says.