In March 2003, Linda West had just returned from holiday in Thailand when she felt a lump in her right breast. A week later, her doctor delivered the news: it was cancer.
Linda's life immediately changed as the BC Cancer - Victoria team quickly developed a robust treatment plan, which included six months of chemotherapy, followed by 35 radiation treatments. She also participated in two clinical trials offered, one was for a drug called Herceptin, that was so successful that the study ended early and women with HER2 positive breast cancer all were treated with Herceptin. The other trial was for Arimidex, that was also very successful.
The treatments worked, and Linda’s life returned to normal with regular checkups for the next ten years.
Then one day, in October of 2016, Linda was golfing with her partner Ron when suddenly, she couldn't catch her breath and, feeling terrible, was rushed to the ER. The result of this hospital trip was another life-changing diagnosis.
This time it was stage IV cancer and it had spread to Linda’s lungs, bones, liver and brain.
"It was very hard to tell family and friends about the cancer returning. I returned to treatment and Ron drove me, and is still driving me, to every appointment. I believe we're on 191 appointments and counting!"
After trying several different chemotherapies, Linda's oncologist, Dr. Vanessa Bernstein, recommended two innovative therapies that, to this day, have successfully kept Linda’s cancer at bay!
“Today, I am doing fantastic," says Linda. "I go for long walks, I’m golfing, entertaining. I’m making the most of my life and appreciate every day I have.”
Linda is living each day to the fullest so, with that mindset, she married Ron, in 2017.
“We didn’t know if we’d have even one anniversary, but here we are, looking forward to our second. I’m so thankful to all the people at BC Cancer – Victoria for the amazing care I received. They are the most compassionate, dedicated, hard-working people you will ever know.”
Linda and Ron are savouring their time together and, since 2003, have traveled to Thailand seven times (!), Palm Springs, Hawaii, Saskatchewan, and enjoyed three cruises. We're so inspired by her wonderful approach to life.
Peninsula Co-op has been a big supporter of Linda's journey. Ron has been a board member for the past 20 years and Linda, their board meeting minute-taker. With such a close connection, and a passion for advancing cancer care on Vancouver Island, Peninsula Co-op is matching donations until July 31st. To learn more about this initiative, click here.