My name is Samantha and I was born and raised in an idyllic village in Scotland. I met my husband, Simon, in the summer before I started university to study law. Simon and I got married five years later just before I started my legal traineeship. We worked and lived in Aberdeen, Scotland for many years before Simon had the opportunity to move to Calgary, Canada for work.
We had always wanted to live in another country and so jumped at the chance to move to Canada. Moving to Calgary was supposed to just be a 2 year adventure, but we loved it so much that we stayed and have now obtained our Canadian citizenship! Yippee!
After living in Calgary for a couple of years, Simon and I had talked about having a little bambino but the timing wasn’t quite right yet to enter into that chapter of our lives. As we were now planning to stay in Calgary long-term, I wanted to complete the legal conversion process first so that I could practice law in Calgary. We did get our first little fur baby at this time though….enter Bertina (“Bertie”). You might be thinking that Bertie is an odd name, but we always wanted an English Bulldog called Bert; as our little puppy was a girl we just jazzed the name up to make it a little girlier. Anyhoo, Bertie is a little brindle English Bulldog and is definitely one spoiled and adorable poochly. We love her!
Once I was dual-qualified to practice law in Calgary, Simon and I thought we would give it a whirl to see if we could have a bambino. I have heard so many stories of people who have struggled to conceive or who haven’t been able to at all, so I was expecting it to take a while for Simon and I to hit the jackpot. This wasn’t to be the case for us though….I was super lucky and got pregnant immediately!
My pregnancy went smoothly (aside for nausea and sickness for 4.5 months) and my little bundle was happy in my tummy. One day during my 7th month of pregnancy I was showering and discovered a lump in the lower part of my right breast. I initially dismissed the lump thinking that it was just changes to my breasts from the pregnancy. I came across the lump again the next day and thought to myself that the lump was really quite large and hadn’t been there before.
Although I thought the lump was something related to the pregnancy, I thought I should be extra cautious and go get it checked out by my family doctor. My family doctor let me know that the chances of developing breast cancer when you are pregnant are rare but he referred me for an ultrasound just to be on the safe side.
One week later, I went for my diagnostic ultrasound. I had actually had a breast cancer scare a few years earlier so I knew what the ultrasound should be like. Unfortunately, the ultrasound didn’t go quite like the other time (when everything had been fine). After the scan, the ultrasound technician went to check with a doctor that the images were ok before I was allowed to leave (this is what happened the first time so I wasn’t concerned with this). When the ultrasound technician came back, she came with the doctor who then proceeded to check the lump herself and told me that they would like to carry out a biopsy as the lump looked a little unusual and couldn’t definitively be ruled out as being a cyst.
My biopsy was scheduled for 9am the next day and went smoothly.
One week later, Simon and I went back to our family doctor to get the results. I remember sitting in the small room waiting for the doctor to come in. I was nervous but I didn’t think that anything was wrong. The doctor came in and asked how I was. I gave my usual cheery response that everything was good but added that “it depended on what he was going to tell me…ha ha ha”. I laughed at this little joke but my jovial manner quickly subsided. The doctor then sat down and the words “it’s not good” came out. My heart dropped. He then said “it’s cancer”. My heart dropped again.
Now 8 months pregnant, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.
It was such a huge shock. My immediate reaction was “I’m sorry, what now?!”; closely followed by numerous apologies to Simon for putting him through this again as Simon had lost his mum to breast cancer. That was when the flood of tears came.
I pulled myself together to leave the doctor’s office and walk back to the car. Once in the safety of the car, the tears came back, followed by a feeling of numbness. After a while of processing the news, I was really mad at myself for not seeing the signs and for not even considering a worst-case scenario. As a corporate lawyer, I always consider the worst-case scenario but hope for the best. This was the first time in my adult life where I didn’t even consider a worst-case scenario; I just blindly assumed that everything was fine and that everyone was being overly cautious because I was pregnant.
The good news was that the tumor (aka the baddie) wasn’t affecting Sophia at all. Although the diagnosis was upsetting news, I caught the tumor early and was young and in a good place to fight it.