Surviving breast cancer is one kind of success, but Vikki Scott recently did something that she said has taken almost four years to do; she spoke about her journey.
“It’s not something we like to talk about or remember, they’re not good memories,” said Scott.
She was first diagnosed in February of 2009 and finished her treatments in August of the same year. “I was one of the odd ones in that I could go through the whole chemotherapy session in six runs. I didn’t have to stop. It was not fun, but I didn’t stop.”
She said most people have to stop half way through because their bodies simply can’t take any more and their white cell counts aren’t high enough for doctors to continue treatment until those levels come up again.
At just 52 years old, Scott said it was terrifying to go through.
“I found a lump in my breast in December of 2008 and went into denial. You tell yourself that nah, it’s nothing, but around the end of December or early January I thought this isn’t right, you just get that instinct.”
She went to see her doctor who said they were sorry, and that Scott would have to go get it checked out. “Of course bells are going off and tears are falling. Three days after I saw my doctor I had another mammogram and they said ‘I’m sorry Mrs. Scott, there’s a dark spot and you’re going to have to go see a surgeon’.”
When the biopsy was done and the results came back as cancerous cells, Scott was sent for a single mastectomy. Her doctor then told her they would have to check her other breast, in which they found pre-cancerous cells.
“I made the decision to go through chemo and then decide – but after chemo, I ended up getting the other removed. So I’ve had a full mastectomy.”
Scott said her support system of family, friends, doctors and nurses is what got her through. “My husband told me he would rather have me around than my breasts, and I’m old enough I don’t really need them.”
Her emotions ran rampant at the time and she said she was absolutely devastated and wouldn’t have thought in a million years that she would have had to face something like breast cancer.
Since having been diagnosed and finishing treatment, Scott continues to return for check ups every six months. Once a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer the concern becomes that they are prone to other types of cancer like ovarian and cervical.
Scott now supports events like the CIBC Run for the Cure, which is coming up in October, because she has seen firsthand the benefits of the money raised.
“Within a month of finding out I had cancer I was in and getting everything done. The research these events fund is phenomenal.”
Scott’s niece, Emily Engebretson, now works with the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation in volunteer organization and was the one who prompted Scott to speak about her journey through cancer.
In October of 2009 after Scott’s treatments, Engebretson told her to come on out and do the CIBC Run for a Cure, but Scott said she was just too tired. She did, however, attend and watch. She said everything was just too fresh at the time.
“The one thing was to take each day at a time and say alright how do I feel today. You have to have support, you can’t go through cancer alone. If you don’t have family, there are always other people that can give you that support.”
Scott said finding the positive helped her on her journey. She said because it happened in the summer she would spend her time sleeping or lounging in her yard with her dog as her companion. “I’ll never forget chemo. It puts enough in your brain that you tell yourself you never want to do that again.”
Most people know about the hair loss associated with cancer, and Scott said it was a sad day.
“I thought after the first treatment I still have my hair, this is awesome. But then two days after I woke up and half of my hair was on my pillow. So my mom and I bawled, and she shaved my head.”
Scott said she will be attending this year’s CIBC Run for the Cure on Oct. 6 which begins at Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School.
“I still can’t quite take part, and it’s hard to talk about it. It’s something that’s really sensitive and it’s going to take a long time to get over that. But I’ll go out and support all of those who supported me.”
For more information on the upcoming CIBC Run for the Cure visit www.runforthecure.com.