October marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Red Deer woman shares her journey to help inspire others

  • Oct. 1, 2014 2:55 p.m.

COURAGEOUS – Beverly Smith of Red Deer shares her story of surviving breast cancer. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and one local survivor is sharing her story to help provide hope for others.

Beverly Smith, 79, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992.

“I discovered a lump under my right arm. The lump was about the size of a small plum and it just suddenly appeared. I went right to my doctor and he sent me to a surgeon and they did a biopsy,” she said. “I had a mastectomy and that was the best choice for me.”

Smith added the surgeon checked 23 lymph nodes and eight of them were involved.

“After my surgery I had four months of chemo – the most aggressive type. I went through the chemo without severe sickness like some people have. Of course I wasn’t feeling well at all, but I felt quite lucky to not be really sick.

“I took the best care of myself as I could. I got lots of rest and avoided places where there were a lot of crowds. I was careful about all of those things.”

Smith said she lost her hair before the second treatment and that was one of the hardest things she had to deal with along her journey. “I knew I was going to lose my hair, but it was really hard. It changes your look.”

After finishing her chemotherapy, Smith went for regular check ups to make sure the cancer had not come back.

“There is so much unknown about cancer. They can’t tell you that you are free of cancer because they don’t know. Every time you go for a check up you are nervous until you know the outcome.”

She added when she first heard the words from her doctor confirming she had breast cancer, she was shocked.

“I felt kind of numb in that moment. I didn’t get hysterical. It was kind of matter of fact and I was ready to do whatever needed to be done,” she said. “You go through your tears and fears wondering what is going to happen. Life took on a different meaning for me. You look at the future and wonder what that will look like.”

Smith said there was also concern for her family during her battle with breast cancer. “It was hard on them. You think of yourself but you are kind of in shock and you wonder what does this mean and who is this affecting?”

Smith added support from family and friends was critical during her journey and encourages others going through the same thing to reach out for help.

“I was so thankful for my family and for my friends. I had so many friends and colleagues who would check on me. My church family was also very important to me too and the prayers that I know went up for me – it meant a lot.”

During the course of her journey battling breast cancer, Smith said there were times when she was positive, knowing that she could beat it. However, there were also times that were very tough.

“During those times I prayed a lot and read the Bible. I got scripture that gave me hope. I also did some journaling, too and I think that was good. I would put down my feelings and personal thoughts,” she said. “And of course my husband was wonderful and he took care of me so well.”

In addition, for those going through cancer treatments and for those who have been newly diagnosed, Smith encourages them to be open.

“It’s really important to share with others – with close friends – and get their help. Everyone is different, but I didn’t feel like I wanted to hide it and go into a corner. There are others who don’t want to ask for the help, but it’s important to,” she said. “I think it’s also important to have an optimistic approach and to want to do whatever possible to get well.”

Today, Smith is doing well and she volunteers with the Canadian Cancer Society during their annual daffodil campaign in the spring.

“Everything was covered – I didn’t pay a thing for all of this treatment and the caring people who looked after me at the cancer centre. I had a really good experience overall. I feel really indebted so I enjoy giving back.”


Just Posted

Blackfalds RCMP investigate break and enter at Fas Gas

RCMP search for suspect who cut through an outside wall to gain access

Operating Budget focuses significantly on community safety

Proposed 2% tax increase for operating budget, debate runs in January

UPDATE: Red Deer RCMP investigate non-suspicious death downtown

48 St. behind transit terminal was closed off earlier Wednesday

Team Canada dancer returns to Red Deer laden with medals

Red Deer dancer wins three silver medals and a bronze at World Championship

Local author releases brand new international thriller

Retired teacher Larry Stewart hosting a book launch this Saturday

Troubled Monk releases new spirit

Troubled Spirit vodka was introduced in early December

Google searches suggest 2017 a tough year

What were Canadians were curious about: Google searches suggest 2017 a tough year

Democrat wins stunning red-state Alabama Senate upset

Democrat Doug Jones wins stunning red-state Alabama Senate upset against Roy Moore

New fighter-jet competition to have national ‘economic interest’ requirement

Trudeau government wants to replace Canada’s aging CF-18s with 88 new fighters by as early as 2025

The top-binged shows on Netflix in 2017

Which show did you cheat on your spouse with by watching ahead?

2017 word of the year: Feminism

Merriam-Webster’s word of the year for 2017: ‘Feminism’

200 Russians to compete in Olympics as neutrals

The Russian Olympic Committee expects 200 to compete in South Korea

Researchers claim the ‘man flu’ does exist

Review of scientific studies suggests ‘man flu’ may be more intense: researcher

Trudeau appoints Supreme Court chief justice

Prime Minister Trudeau appoints Richard Wagner as Supreme Court chief justice

Most Read