My name is Christina Bieber. I am excited and honoured to be a part of the C95 Radio Marathon this year!
My Husband Herman and I grain and cattle farm. We have five children – three girls and two boys. Our youngest son was born March 4 of 2017.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2014 at the age of 31. At the time I was 18 weeks pregnant.
I was quickly put into contact with a surgeon. We had a long discussion, and it was decided that we would do surgery first – a modified radical mastectomy and lymph node removal. Later that day, I received a call from the surgeon and was referred to the Head of Oncology at the Allen Blair Cancer Centre in Regina. He advised us that it was best to start chemotherapy before the surgery.
We had a lot to think about.
We were not sure what was our best option because it was not just about me… We had to make sure all the treatment options were safe for the baby too.
We decided that chemotherapy was a better option for us at that time. Treatment was to be four rounds of A/C and Cyclophosphamide, as this had a significant less chance of breaching the placenta. I started treatment at 22 weeks pregnant.
I found out six weeks into treatment that the type of breast cancer I had was triple negative.
Throughout all of this, I had scans and X –rays which were different from most women because we had to take different precautions with being pregnant. We had ultrasounds to monitor the baby’s development, with frequent visits to my obstetrician. I mostly felt exhausted and slept these four months away.
My surgery was on December 16th, 2014. I had a left breast mastectomy with 18 lymph nodes removed. I recovered for three weeks and was notified by my obstetrician that I would be induced to have my baby on January 7th, 2015. Noah was born January 9th, 2015 at 36 weeks and 6 days. He is a happy, healthy boy. There were absolutely no signs of chemo in his blood.
The next treatments of chemotherapy started three weeks after I gave birth. This time, the chemo was not so forgiving. I was exhausted all the time, lost feeling in my fingers and toes, and had bone pain throughout it all. I was so happy to have finished these treatments! The very last one was April 1, 2015. Just shy of one month after I finished chemotherapy, we started 16 rounds of radiation.
Following my treatments, I had more scans to check for metastasis, and got the news that all was clear! From there, it was time for healing.
It was difficult trying to find a sense of normalcy. It still is. I have side effects from my mastectomy and lymph node removal. I have bound tissue, muscles and cording from the mastectomy, and I developed mild stage 2 lymphedema as well. I have been receiving physiotherapy, which is helping my condition improve, but it is difficult finding a balance with lymphedema. I am constantly learning what I can and can’t do.
I did not know much about breast cancer at the time of my diagnosis; I thought it was all the same. I soon found out, there are different types of breast cancer which means treatment is different for everyone.
I am thankful that I was put into the care of an oncologist who had the knowledge and experience on how to treat and care for me in my situation. This is why funding and donations, like the C95 Radio Marathon, are so important. The funds stay in Saskatchewan, and together we can continue to move towards better treatment options, care and hopefully a cure.