Occupation – Director of Educational Information Management, Va. Dept. of Education
Children Graham 25 and Meryl 23
When were you diagnosed? June 6, 2008
How was it found?My husband found the lump. It did not show up on mammogram, but was confirmed by biopsy and MRI. I had invasive lobular carcinoma which does not always show up on a mammogram.
Do you have a family history of breast cancer? no
As a woman what gives you your strength? “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13. This became truer to me after I was diagnosed with breast cancer and faced surgery, chemo, and recovery. Not only did I need to be strong for myself; I needed my family and friends to know that breast cancer was not going to bring me down!
Briefly state in your own words something about yourself that you want people to know.A fellow-survivor once said, “breast cancer may be in my definition, but it does not define me.” I am still the same wife, mother, daughter, sister, co-worker, and friend; just slightly altered, much stronger, with an additional mission in my life purpose. Because of my experience, I am in a unique position to help others and I share the Komen belief that one person can make a difference in the fight against breast cancer. Whether it be a phone call or a visit with someone newly-diagnosed, volunteering, or fundraising, I am making a difference in people’s lives just as friends and strangers made a difference in mine.
I have been married for over 26 years to my “breast” friend and partner, Ed Canada. Our relationship is one of mutual respect and support. In our 26 years together, we’ve had quite a few opportunities to support one another. We enjoy traveling, especially to Cape Hatteras, NC. Together we cook, garden, and proudly watch our children grow into adults.
In my professional life, I am a nationally-recognized expert in education data systems and I actively serve on a number of national education committees and boards. When I am not working, I enjoy my hobbies and activities. I am an avid jewelry maker and I love to read, garden, and cook. I participate in the Monument Ave 10K and I sponsor a team for the Central Virginia’s Race for the Cure. In 2010, our 50+ member team raised over $3000 for Komen.
The below, written 49 days in my cancer journey, captures what I was feeling then as well as what I feel today.
“it has been 49 days since I found out I had cancer. I have been on an incredible journey; not one I would have selected for myself, but now that I’ve taken it I would not trade the things I’ve learned and seen along the way. I have personally experienced the power of faith and prayer. I have seen faith, love, compassion, devotion, and kindness in the actions of my family, friends, caregivers, and complete strangers. I have found that humor exists in the most painful situations; and using it is a painkiller in itself.”
One person CAN make a difference......be that person