Donna (65 years old) is a single mother of 3 adult children. She lives alone in an urban setting in a prairie province and works full-time in administration at a community health clinic. She also works for herself as an event planner and aroma therapist.
Donna was diagnosed in 2012 when she was 64. She is single and has 3 adult children. Her breast cancer was a surprise following a regular mammography that she had attended when she had encouraged her sister to accompany her. Although it was very small at first detection, it had grown larger rather quickly during a brief holiday she did not want to miss. She is now back working full-time following about a year of an overwhelming series of treatments, including a lumpectomy, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. She is now receiving hormone therapy. Donna has used several forms of alternative and complementary therapies, including those from First Nations traditions, which she feels have been very helpful. Her children had encouraged her to seek medical intervention early on in her journey with breast cancer. She has an excellent relationship with her family physician and received her best information from a nurse practitioner who is a friend. She was rather appalled at the lack of information from the outset and the lack of an overall care plan – she recommends that patients get a ‘roadmap’ from healthcare providers from the beginning. Donna is a cheerful, hard-working woman who promotes (and uses) an excellent sense of humour to help cope day to day. She has found that her illness has helped her to face life’s challenges more bravely.