Community

Finding the will to fight back

Vee Hansen (centre) and her family, years after she was diagnosed with Stage-4 breast cancer and told she had six months to live. - Contributed photo
Vee Hansen (centre) and her family, years after she was diagnosed with Stage-4 breast cancer and told she had six months to live.
— image credit: Contributed photo

When Vee Hansen was told she had six months to live, she took a more unorthodox route to treating her Stage-4 breast cancer.

She fired her oncologist.

“I wasn’t ready to go yet, so I got mad. I fired him and said that I wanted a doctor that will help me and work with me, not tell me I’m going to die,” she said. “I have four grandchildren, I want to see them get bigger.”

Now, five years after the diagnosis, the longtime White Rock resident, 74, said she couldn’t be happier that she decided to fight for her life.

Her experience prompted her to accept an invitation to share her story for World Cancer Day on Feb. 4.

This year, the focus of the day will be to dispel damaging myths and misconceptions about cancer, including the idea that cancer is a death sentence.

For Hansen, there is no better person to refute that belief than herself.

“I’m a firm believer that the day you are born, the day of your demise is set, but mine wasn’t just yet,” she said. “If I had gone home that day and taken that first oncologist’s diagnosis to heart, I wouldn’t be here.

“You have to make up your mind about what you want to do.”

Despite her positive outlook, Hansen admitted that she will never be cancer-free, but said her positive outlook has bought her more time.

“Every once in a while I get tired, but I push myself. I’m living life like I used to 90 per cent of the time,” she said.

Since her diagnosis, Hansen has decided to make the most of her days. The doting grandmother will be going to Ottawa with her family this summer and when the weather improves, Hansen will be back to her favourite pastimes.

“As soon as I can, I’m going to be back on the golf course,” she laughed.

For more information about World Cancer Day, visit www.worldcancerday.org

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