Nadia A

Age at interview

Nadia (75 years old) was born in Trinidad but has lived in Canada for over 50 years. She has two children and three grandchildren and lives with her son.

Nadia was just diagnosed with breast cancer 1 week ago. She found the lump herself while she was in the shower. Shortly after her discovery she had to go to the emergency department for another health issue and was admitted to the hospital. There, the doctors discovered her lump and made sure she was tested while she was in the hospital. In this short period since her diagnosis, Nadia has had to make many changes and decisions. For example, at first, it was impossible for her to use the word breast cancer and it is only after a full week that she has been able to say these kind of words. She has informed her closest family members but doesn’t want any friends or other people to know about her disease at the moment. Once her breast has been removed she feels things can return back to 'normal'. Her daughter, who works in a hospital, has been indispensable in helping her to understand the diagnosis and guide her through the health care system.

Time since diagnosis
0 -1 year
Phase of treatment
In treatment


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When I go to sleep I think of it and then I tell myself look just push it away. Push it away from your brain try and think of something else. And I try to think of something else or something nice or my grandchildren what I can do for them and that’s until I fall asleep. When I get up in the morning again I go to the bathroom, I brush my teeth, I go make my breakfast it’s on my mind … Yes I think it will be on my mind until it’s over, until it’s over.

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(I think) they would look at me differently and maybe talk among themselves “Look at [name participant].” My name is [name participant], “She’s living with one breast I wonder what happened, why? How is she doing? What is going on?” And sometimes we meet certain places to have coffee, tea or what and maybe that wouldn’t happen anymore because they might look at me differently since I lost a breast. This is how I feel, I’m telling how I feel.

This is how I feel. Once my friends don’t know anything, it’s better for me. Because even when I’m dressed and going out they wouldn’t see anything. By the way I dress, they wouldn’t see any breast missing. So this is how I feel; it’s better if they don’t know.

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Certain words, when the doctor uses them, I don’t understand them. So that’s the only thing. I get confused with them a little bit. Certain big words I don’t know the meaning. So if they can break it down then I feel much better.

They were asking me too many questions at the same time. There were two students as I told you and then the doctor and sometimes when they were asking so many questions, this one that I get a little bit confused and I didn’t understand. Yeah she’s right.

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When I went in, the doctor examined and she had two students. They examined me too, she let them there was one Indian doctor, who was an intern I think, and another one, a white one. And they did… they asked me can, I touch and I said “Yes you are all learning the job so it’s okay.” So I was on the table and they touched and whatnot. But, they were a bit shy. They’re young. I say “No, it’s okay, you go ahead, this is part of your job.” Then the doctor, she told me “Really it’s cancer". And I said “Okay” Because, I had a thing before in my brain. Maybe it’s cancer from the lump, for myself. I tell myself maybe that’s what they call cancer. I didn’t know exactly because a lump, they were asking me if I see any discharge from my nipples; nothing at all, nothing at all.

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I’m so scared, whenever I hear about surgery, I’m scared and also having the breast removed. But I think to myself now the best thing for me is to get it removed because I’m very afraid for it to spread into my body.

Interviewer: Is the fact that your body is changing, is that affecting you a lot? That the breast will be taken off?

It affects me a little bit but now that I’m getting to realize well it’s, no I don’t need to have that there. It’s best to take it off and get rid of it and I’ll continue living a normal life with maybe one breast. I hope the other breast doesn’t get it but no, no it’s not bothering me, I just want to get it off, get it over with and done.

But now, I feel yes it’s positive. I should take it off and get it over with and done as I said before; and get it over with and done that’s the positive side I have really. Just do it, get it, it doesn’t matter what happens get it over with and done. It’s there, it has to get out, I just don’t want to keep it and die, if I have another 10 or 15 years again. Let me get this thing out that’s my positive thing. Sometimes now, I don’t worry about it. I say look, it has to be out, just leave it. When the time comes whatever happens. This is my thing now.