Cancer survivor shares her life-changing journey

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A cancer diagnosis sent Lisa Vandenbussche on a journey.


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“You kind of search high and low for answers of why it happened to you,” says the Norfolk County woman, who learned she had breast cancer on Sept. 26, 2018.

“I tried to do as much as I could to be healthy,” she says.

“I cut out a lot of things in my life that could possibly be factors of causing cancer.”

She drank lots of water and juiced vegetables. And she exercised and did hot yoga as ways to purify her body while she was going through treatments.

“As horrible as the journey was to go through, it ended up being life changing in a really good way.”

Last October, Vandenbussche began treatment at Hamilton’s Juravinski Hospital, which included eight rounds of chemotherapy. On March 18, she underwent a double mastectomy. About three months later, she began 25 rounds of radiation. She is using Tamoxifen, a medication that is used to prevent breast cancer, which she will take for about the next 10 years.

Vandenbusshe said her outlook helped her cope with her cancer.

“My advice would be to really try to stay positive, to always try to find the silver lining in everything,” she says. “Your mindset is very important.”

In June, she was approached about being a spokesperson for the 20th anniversary of Simcoe’s CIBC Run for the Cure and a model for the 15th annual fashion show, a sister event that features local breast cancer survivors. The run will take place Oct. 6. The fashion show was held Sept. 10.

Mary Ann Cullimore, a member of the CIBC Run for the Cure committee and chair of the fashion show, says it was her idea to approach Vandenbussche.

“I was very impressed with how open and honest she was when she finished her chemo,” Cullimore says in reference to a Facebook post by Vandenbussche about her treatment journey.

“A lot of people aren’t willing to do that and I think she’s touched so many people just by putting it on Facebook.”

Vandenbussche has participated in the run before.

She says she is “really honoured” to be a spokesperson for the event.

She says she hopes sharing her story will “shine a light on a dark situation.”

The local run has raised more than $2.5 million for cancer research since it started.

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