Cancer Bio: Diagnosed in 2012 with Stage 2; living with Metastatic Breast Cancer since 2017
The Real Me: I'm a mom to 3 amazing kids, retired RN, love photography and am always running out of memory on my phone. Since being diagnosed with MBC, I've been involved with different advocacy initiatives to be part of the movement creating change for those of us living with MBC. I'm part of Rethink Breast Cancer's MBC Advisory Board, and have done several public speaking engagements, which include being the first patient advocate speaker at the Canadian Breast Cancer Symposium and a guest speaker at Rethink's MBC Advocacy Day at Queen's Park. I've led several teams at the CIBC Run 4 the Cure and most recently been involved with a fundraiser called Turning the Page on Cancer, which has raised over $100k for MBC in 3 years. I'm able to do this additional work with a grateful heart and an active treatment schedule that keeps the cancer in my lungs, bones and lymph nodes (relatively) stable. Recently, I was part of a feature on CTV Canadian Health & Family that shares part of my story: www.healthandfamily.ca/show/talking-about-metastatic-breast-cancer-with-dr-karen-gelmon/ .
Follow my MBC advocacy efforts (which are really breast cancer efforts that support us all) on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter; vesna.mbc.thriver.
Something I would tell my newly diagnosed self: Try not to get consumed with having to figure everything out at this.very.moment. Sometimes it's enough to just get through the day. This will help you find moments of peace and calm, even in really trying times.
One of my favourite quotes includes this - 'and when you feel the tilt is heavy on one side, lean towards grace and this will help you through.' Theses are words that help me get by.