“Every day when I wake up, I live every day for that day,” reveals Tanya Gracie. At 38, she is a mom, a wife, an entrepreneur, and a patient at the Cape Breton Cancer Centre. “I knew something wasn’t right,” Tanya reflects on the months leading up to her diagnosis last year with bladder cancer. After more than a dozen bladder infections she sought the advice of her doctor.
In May 2014, Tanya attended an appointment with her doctor, Dr. Kenneth Rent, at the Regional Hospital. It was then he told her that the spot on her bladder was cancer.
“My parents came with me. I was in shock,” she remembers. Not knowing how to react, she swallowed her tears, looking back to the only other time she had been to the Cape Breton Cancer Centre; with her husband Jeff. “When he was 28 he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease. I remember what an experience that was,” Tanya says as she brushes her blonde hair behind her ear.
From that day forward, with the support of her tight knit family and friends, Tanya decided that she could either, “let the cancer control me or I could control it.” With a brave face, she underwent three surgeries where she had nearly ten tumors removed from her bladder.
“The week leading up to my chemotherapy appointment at the Cancer Centre was the first time that I really truly broke down and cried about having cancer,” Tanya adds that the idea of going to the Cancer Centre made it real.
On her first day of chemotherapy, 38 year old Tanya Gracie, a woman who never dreamed she would be in this situation at such a young age, filled with fear and anxiousness put her infectious smile on her face and made her way to the Cape Breton Cancer Centre.
Crushing her fears, Tanya remembers that her nurse was, “so kind and calm.” Her six weeks of treatment went smoothly and through the support of family, Dr. Rent, and the Cancer Centre staff, she admits that her experience was positive.
“I know there is a high reoccurrence rate with bladder cancer,” Tanya’s bright face tenses. “But really, tomorrow isn’t promised for anyone. So I choose to live with purpose and positivity.”
These days, as she waits to hear progress reports from her doctor, Tanya spends weekends at the rink with her three kids, time with friends and colleagues, and now she has set a goal to raise funds and awareness for bladder cancer. She is giving back to the Cape Breton Cancer Centre because she felt it was important that she didn’t miss anything with her family or her life while she underwent treatment.
“If it can happen to me at 38 years old, it can happen to anyone; it is important to keep people and families at home,” she stresses. “And if I can do something to leave the world a little better than it was – that’s exactly what I want to do.”