3 years since diagnosis
Age at interview: 42
Naoual (42 years old) has a partner and has two young children. She worked as a prosthetist in a dental office. Naoual continued working after treatment but had to stop working when her employer didn’t have sufficient work for her anymore.
Naoual received her diagnosis in 2012. Naoual felt the lumps in her breast herself but was not immediately concerned. She first went on a planned holiday to Morocco before she saw her family doctor. Her family doctor advised her to do further testing. Naoual realized it was more serious than she initially thought when the technician asked her, during the ultrasound, if breast cancer runs in the family. The next day, Naoual got the results and met her family doctor again. She was then asked to undergo a biopsy to test whether it was cancer or not. Naoual had to wait for a month to have a biopsy and she then waited 3 more weeks to receive the results. Naoual was phoned and told that she had breast cancer while she was at work. This was such a difficult moment for Naoual that she had difficulties telling her family and her two young children. She decided to first tell her sister in Morocco and together they decided that it was best for her mother to come to Canada so that Naoual could tell her in person. Naoual is very happy with the good support she received from family who live mostly in Morocco. She underwent a lumpectomy followed with a mastectomy, and then, as the margins were not clear, chemotherapy and radiation. Naoual decided not to have reconstructive surgery as she realized that it would not be easy and, as she says, she is happy with the body that God gave her. While undergoing treatment, Naoual felt that she had to make some changes to be able to cope with everything. For example, she came up with the idea to organize a fashion show for women with breast cancer. Organizing this show was a way for her to overcome her negative moods as she received much joy and happiness from the women involved in the project. Naoual also encouraged her children to become more independent and they learned, for example, to walk alone to school, a single mother before diagnosis, has now entered into a new relationship with someone who fully accepts her the way she is.
- Positive effects on self – NaoualNaoual found that her experience changed her perspective. Rather than focusing on her bad fortune, she had chosen a more optimistic approach and was trying to be her best self.
- Challenging emotions – NaoualNaoual decided to organize a fashion show for women with breast cancer as a means to start feeling better.
- Testing and diagnosis – NaoualIt was difficult for Naoual to receive her diagnosis through the phone while she was working.
- Sexuality, femininity and intimacy – NaoualNaoual, who was divorced and went through diagnosis and treatment on her own, has since remarried.
- Physical activity and diet changes – NaoualInforming yourself about what to eat is important, but Naoual felt that she could have been given more information from professionals about her food choices.
- How it affects family and friends – NaoualNaoual, who immigrated from Morocco, made sure to always accept social invitations so that she wasn't so alone.