Getting Through Cancer “My Way”

By Cancer Foundation on August 18 / 2016

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Photo by Tanja Webster 

Coining it as her “Cancer Adventure,” Sändi Webster has been down a winding road since she was first diagnosed with cancer in the spring of 2014. After finishing treatment, she found it difficult to process the changes in her life and to continue moving forward with her physical and emotional recovery. When Sändi learned about the Cancer Foundation she signed up for Cancer Coaching, wellness workshops, and other services to help in her healing process, learning how to better understand and process her emotions and care for her mind and body after cancer treatment.

Sändi is a member of Ottawa’s beloved Glebe Community, and shared her honest and courageous story with the Glebe Report in June 2016.

Here is Sandi’s story, courtesy of the Glebe Report.

Crap – cancer… Now what?

By Sändi Webster

Hearing the words “you have cancer” is one of those life-altering moments. Like before children and after children. Life will never be the same….

Once diagnosed with cancer, you, your family doctor, your oncologist and your surgeon will be busy figuring out the best course of action to heal you. Surgeries need to be planned; cat scans, bone scans, echocardiogram, blood tests and X-rays need to be scheduled; pre-operative, post–operative, chemotherapy and radiation appointments need to be attended; medications need to be managed. You run from appointment to appointment – all very medical, all very physical, all for your body.

Cancer is an illness that does not only affect your body: it affects your family, your friends, your pets, your work, your house… well, everything that makes you you…and it especially affects your mental well-being and your soul. For the first few months, all you can think of is how to get rid of the cancer cells. At that time you may be quite sick. After the initial treatments are over and they explain you are cancer free, you try to put your life back in order, but at some point it is going to hit you, that moment when you realize nothing is the same. When the meal deliveries have long stopped and people on the street tell you how good you look, but nobody knows you cry yourself to sleep every night, and that you feel like a loser – sad, worthless and weak. You are scared, lonely, tired all the time, depressed. You are dealing with the side effects of all the medication you now have to take; you are in pain all the time; you feel irritated and angry, and can’t concentrate. Every time you enter the house it reminds you of the time you lay deathly sick on the couch.

But of course, everybody is different. I personally hit rock bottom eight months after I finished my chemo. I couldn’t even do the dishes. That is when I found the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation and their amazing cancer coaching service!

Located only minutes away from the Glebe at 1500 Alta Vista Drive, the Cancer Foundation is a true miracle. I recall the first time I went there to meet my cancer coach. The second I entered the building, I felt like I was home. A super nice receptionist, beautiful meeting rooms with fire places, an exercise gym, state-of-the-art kitchen, a yoga room with sparkling lights, art on the walls….nothing here is medical; all is for your mental and emotional wellbeing.

I began to feel less lonely, regained hope, and started to learn how to live my cancer adventure my way. I took part in several group coaching workshops. It was an eye-opener to connect with people in similar situations and learn from them as well as from the coaches. The “coping with cancer” workshop taught me it’s OK to cry when you tell your story – we all cried and it felt right. The “positive thinking through self-hypnosis” workshop taught me how to deal with my emotions and to steer my brain into more positive thoughts. The “fitness fundamentals” program helped me to regain some strength. The knowledgeable instructor knew all the tricks on how to deal with a post-cancer damaged body. The “work and cancer survivorship” program taught me how I could enter the workforce again. I am now taking part in the “brain fog” program to improve my memory and concentration, and I look forward to trying Reiki and a nutrition session in the future.

This support is available to anyone with a cancer diagnosis at any point in their cancer experience, as well as family members and friends. This home-away-from-home is also a gathering place for many cancer survivors and caregivers who connect there for things such as therapeutic knitting, social game nights and community support group meetings.

Had I found the centre earlier on and met my cancer coach right when I was diagnosed, it would have made a huge difference for me and my family.

If you have been diagnosed with cancer, or you know somebody that has, send them and their family to the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation. It could make an enormous difference.

For more information about Cancer Coaching and services offered by the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation, please visit or call 613-247-3527.

To make a donation to help people in all phases of their “cancer adventure” access Cancer Coaching and other services, please click the button below.

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