When they say your life can change on a dime, it really can, says Yvonne.
That message first hit home in 2009 when she rolled her car on the way to a job interview.
“I flipped it onto its side and I was hanging from the seatbelt. The firefighters said a couple of more feet and I wouldn’t have been able to get out. They would have had to use the Jaws of Life.”
Thinking back, that was probably the start.
In September 2010, she found herself dragging her butt – she was tired, had no energy and her periods were getting heavier and heavier.
She definitely wasn’t feeling herself, so she consulted a naturopath … maybe she just needed to take iron pills or vitamins. She then followed up by going to the doctor’s for a full blood test.
“The next day I was at work and I got a message from the doctor’s office that I should go to the nearest hospital for a blood transfusion,” Yvonne says.
Listening to the message and a subsequent message to call the doctor’s office, Yvonne thought
nothing of it and decided to go for lunch. That afternoon, she finally decided to go to the hospital, where more tests were conducted. She got in touch with her own doctor, who did a D&C and sent the results away for analysis.
“I remember getting the phone call saying that the doctor wanted to see me sooner than the end of the month. Driving there, a flash came into my mind: ‘What happens if she says it’s cancer?’ ”
The doctor indicated she had cancer of the uterus and told her CancerCare would be in touch, then asked if she had any questions.
“I said: ‘Nope.’ But when I left the doctor’s office, it was like surreal. I was thinking I should tell somebody, but I couldn’t call Rob (her husband) – he was at work.”
She waited until the next day, when CancerCare called her to say they wanted to rush the surgery.
The date was set for Oct. 20 for a total hysterectomy.
“For some reason, I was kind of shocked, and I know that when I told my family, it was interesting how they reacted.”
Her one sister insisted everything would be okay, but her other sister seemed traumatized.
But the end result was good. The cancer hadn’t spread and was confined to the uterus. No chemotherapy or further treatment was required.
“I remember coming home from the hospital. Sammy (her cat) knew that there was something different. Normally, he would jump on me. But when I was in bed, he just knew not to jump on my stomach. He would lay right beside me or right close to my head. And he would stay there for hours.
“I swear he would stay there all day until Rob came home from work, and then it was like a shift-change for the nurses. He left for the evening. Sammy was a big part of my recovery.”
Her husband Rob was also a great caregiver.
“In the beginning, I think he was quite concerned that there might be more (cancer). But seeing that I was calm and thinking that things were going to be okay, that put him at peace.
“I really felt at peace. I am spiritual, but I don’t have an organized religion per se. I prayed through all my powers to be that things would unfold the way they should.”
It was funny the little things that ran through her head, she says. Everything was going to be okay, but she needed to do a will, which some people found morbid.“I thought, well, why not. I should have done it after the car accident.”
As a result of everything that’s happened to her, she doesn’t take life as seriously any more.
Before, everything had to be perfect, whether at home or work. She was also a people pleaser.
“I had to make sure that everybody liked me and that everybody was getting along. Now, if it doesn’t work for me, it doesn’t work for me. I am sorry … I am not going to agree just for the sake of avoiding arguments.”
However, she has reconnected with her older sister, which she doesn’t think would have happened if she hadn’t been sick.
She is also working on her bucket list.
“I always wanted to swim with the dolphins, since I saw Flipper when I was a kid. In February 2013, we visited the Bahamas, where we went to a small island and swam with the dolphins.”
She has also been trying to figure out how to spend her next 20 years.
“I don’t know. I was saying the other day, we have all this land – we should be a rescue shelter for dogs. But Rob’s worried that I won’t give them away after I have rescued them. I think I would like to do something different in the sense that I could save more time rather than commuting from the farm.”
She also seems to have become a bit of a life coach. If friends have a problem, she will listen and give them options and opinions. She is passionate about helping people, more so than before her cancer.
“I think my philosophy is that all these things happened for a purpose. There are no coincidences. I think the reason for me was that it gave me the push to say: ‘Life is to be enjoyed and not structured.’ Who cares if you are going to spring clean the house this week and you are going to go camping instead. Who cares, really.’ ”