Anie Beauchemin

Like many people who live in regions far away from the oncology centres, I had to leave my home to go for my radiation therapy. Since being diagnosed with breast cancer, I had gone through a lot to try to stay positive. But at that moment, I was afraid of failing. I saw myself alone, making the daily trip between the hospital and a motel room, and I felt I was not ready to live through that.
 

A living environment almost like home

Like many people who live in regions far away from the oncology centres, I had to leave my home to go for my radiation therapy. Since being diagnosed with breast cancer, I had gone through a lot to try to stay positive. But at that moment, I was afraid of failing. I saw myself alone, making the daily trip between the hospital and a motel room, and I felt I was not ready to live through that.

Following my pivot nurse’s recommendation, I called the Quebec Cancer Foundation’s Gatineau Lodge where I was eventually welcomed for five weeks, the total duration of my treatments, last October and November.

Contrary to what I could have believed, the Lodge is not a depressing place. I found there a positive and pleasant living environment. The staff is open-hearted, respectful and charming. Right from your arrival, you feel they are there to help. What’s more, the bonds that quickly develop among residents mean that you feel good and accepted without judgment. Each one brings something to the group and this makes the stay away from home much easier.

Personally, I also needed to talk about something other than the disease. So, I tried all the activities that the Foundation suggested: social and cultural outings, art therapy, the coffee get-togethers. There is lots of choice, so that everyone ends up finding some pastime to take their mind off things.
In addition to solving my problem of somewhere to live during my treatments, the Foundation Lodge also gave me the chance to take care of myself, without worrying my family and to live this ordeal of radiation therapy with equanimity. At all times, I felt surrounded and supported, despite being away from my family and loved ones. There were even friendships which resulted from this adventure.

Because residents share the same trial on a daily basis, the psychological support which we provide for each other is amazing and unique. If these Foundation services did not exist, I don’t know how some of us would get through it all. Thanks to the Foundation staff in the Outaouais!

Anie Beauchemin, 47 years of age, La Sarre, Abitibi-Témiscamingue

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