The Voice of Canadians With Breast Cancer

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Being Diagnosed with Breast Cancer During a Pandemic

By Katharina Lenz

My name is Katharina and I was diagnosed with stage 2a breast cancer in March 2020 just when the pandemic was starting. I was 25 years old at the time. I had to go through testing and treatment alone without any support person by my side.

It was very challenging for my mental health trying to process all the decisions that had to be made regarding my treatment and going through all the testing alone. Because of the pandemic, no one was allowed to be there with me, supporting me and keeping my positive thoughts up.

But I was in good hands. I trusted my medical team with the decisions. After more testing we decided on lumpectomy and radiation, and now I am on a hormone blocker to hopefully keep the cancer out of my body.

Thankfully, my healthcare team did not need to recommend a different course of treatment because of the pandemic, and I was not delayed in receiving surgery or radiation therapy. But not being able to bring someone with me to my appointments and treatments was hard. It has not been an easy journey going through cancer and a pandemic at the same time.

Undergoing certain testing, like the MRI, and radiation while wearing a mask was giving me a very hard time. I had lots of anxiety and panic-attacks. Music, CBD* and working out helped me cope with my anxiety and fears.

Since my family lives outside of Canada, I chose not to tell them until a year after my diagnosis. My husband and some true friends were there for me when I needed them. They ran errands for me, cooked, and sent care packages so I could relax and focus on my recovery.

Being alone through these appointments and testing made me realize that sometimes the worst place you can be is in your own head. Having someone with me would have helped a lot to just let me feel more comfortable and give me more strength.

Here is one of my favourite quotes that I like to share with all the fighters out there:

“You beat cancer by how you live, why you live and in the manner in which you live” – Stuart Scott

If you have any questions, you can contact me through my Instagram @lenz_katharina.

*If you are considering CBD to help manage your anxiety from breast cancer, be sure to speak with your healthcare team first to ensure it is safe to do so