Claire-Ann Rose

Claire-Ann RoseClaire-Ann Rose says she walked around in a daze for more than a week after she received her breast cancer diagnosis, and she told her husband that she needed time to decide how she was going to proceed.  She describes herself and being quite ‘prim and proper’, and the thought of losing her hair, likely her eyebrows and the sickness from treatment side effects was hard to accept.
 
Did she really need chemotherapy?  Was losing her hair as bad as she was imagining? Claire-Ann got answers to her questions by acquiring six ‘chemo sisters’.  Who better to advise her than those who have experienced the reality of breast cancer treatment. Unanimously, her sisters urged her to get the chemotherapy and promised to support her every step of the way.
 
Spending time with her chemo sisters helped to mitigate her fear significantly.  Seeing how well her ‘sisters’ were doing—some of them being 20-year survivors of breast cancer—gave Claire-Ann the confidence to move forward.  
 
Because she had surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, Claire-Ann also got to see a great deal of Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and the physicians and nurses who provide compassionate care every single day.  Being cared for in a place with a reputation for world-class care also helped to reduce her fear and trust that she was in good hands.
 
So when her chemotherapy approached, she made an appointment with the specialists at the Princess Margaret Wig Salon who fitted her with a lovely wig. Then, in a symbolic gesture that said she was ready to proceed, she invited her hairdresser to join her on the rooftop deck of her condominium to shave her head.
 
“My experience with cancer treatment has taught me that we have to be gentle with ourselves,” says Claire-Ann in her beautiful Irish lilt. “I have realized my self-worth through this cancer journey, and I’ve now taken the time to dream a little and think about goals beyond my career.  My husband and I now have a 3-year and a 5-year plan.”
 
Almost two years after treatment, Claire-Ann is doing well and hoping to support other women facing cancer treatment by sharing her story and being a ‘chemo sister’.

 
Added: March 2014