A baseball saved Suzi Wiebe’s life.
Suzi has always been active, and she considers herself to be a pretty good baseball player. So in 2017 while playing a baseball game, she was embarrassed when she got hit by a ball and it left a bruise and a bump on her chest.
When the bump didn’t go down after a few days, however, she started to get concerned and made an appointment with her doctor.
On June 14, 2017, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Suzi had so many things to think about – so many questions and no answers. She decided with her husband Rod to tell just a few people: their kids Aaron and Aubrey, family, some extended family, colleagues, and a few friends. “It was hard, but there was also this huge sense of relief once their people knew and didn’t run to the hills,” says Suzi. “Our people were amazing!“
As word spread, Suzi received many messages of support, and her cancer was given an identity: Rock Star Status. “When I was out and about,” says Suzi, “people would ask, ‘How’s the Rock Star?’” Moments like these always made her smile.
Suzi’s treatment cancer plan consisted of a right breast lumpectomy, 16 weeks of chemotherapy, a second marginal surgery, and four weeks of radiation done in Vancouver, requiring travel from her home in Powell River. She promised herself she would continue to get up every day, get dressed and go outside.
Suzi with her husband Rod, exploring Vancouver while travelling there for radiation.
“Just because you have cancer does not mean you need to stop living,” she says. “Cancer was not going to decide my future.”
Throughout her treatment, Suzi stayed true to her promise. During chemotherapy, she continued playing hockey on Sundays with permission from her oncologist – who also happened to be the team’s goalie – although teaching her Learn To Skate classes at the rink wasn’t allowed. “My doctor said the little kids are too germy. ‘Walking petri dishes,’ was the term I believe she used.”
She also took full advantage of everything the big city had to offer during her radiation treatments, staying in an AirBnB just off bustling Commercial Drive with its many restaurants and activities.
Today, Suzi is cancer-free and reflecting on the lessons learned throughout her journey. Let people ask how you’re doing, and always answer with sincerity. Let them come sit with you during chemo treatments. Hug them. Try to stay productive. Wear mascara every day. Eat stuff that makes you feel good. Remember that toques are your friend. And get off the couch and go play outside.
Suzi with her hockey team, who she continued to play with throughout her treatment.
True to that lesson learned, Suzi is taking part in her first Tour de Cure this year as a member of Team CTV. “I’m nervous and excited,” she says, as road cycling is new to her. “But because of all the folks who continue to ride each year raising funds for research, I’m still here! I’m forever grateful to be part of this community.”