top of page

Courtney's Story

Winnipeg, Manitoba

Save Your Skin Foundation (SYSF) is a patient-led organization dedicated to the fight against non-melanoma skin cancers, mela

My story began May 25, 2020, when I was diagnosed with choroidal melanoma. The only symptom I was experiencing was some blurry vision, so I thought “well ,maybe it’s time for glasses!” So, off to the optometrist I went. He couldn’t figure it out so I went to a specialist and that’s where my journey began. It was seven days after I had gotten engaged, so at what was supposed to be an exciting time of my life I was obviously devastated.

At the initial diagnosis, I don’t think I even heard what the doctor was saying as I was in my own zone thinking “is this really happening?” Thank goodness my now-husband was there to get all the details, as he was more attentive than I was at that moment. I was so scared and the only thing I could say was “am I going to die?” with tears streaming down my face. I don’t think my doctor knew what to say nor do I remember what he said either. At that time my son was 13 years old (he is now turning 16), and that I had to break this news to my parents plus having to explain to my son that I was sick was quite possibly the worst thing ever, as I wasn’t sure how he would react or what his thoughts would be. But he took the news like a champ. I’m not sure if at the time he really understood what was going to happen because of course I surely didn’t. I was terrified, but I kept my head up and did what I had to do.

Once I went back for further testing and whatnot I was more stable in my thinking process and able to grasp everything that was being said to me. I was told it was caught early, which was great to hear. The only crummy part was that treatment was not available in my home Province of Manitoba and my only options were to travel to British Columbia, Ontario, or Alberta. I chose Alberta, as I have family there and just felt more comfortable going there.

Before I knew it I was off to Alberta. Everything happened so fast. So there I was in Dr. Weis’s office in Calgary, Alberta, not really knowing what to expect or what kind of person he would turn out to be.

Dr. Weis turned out to be the best! He is always compassionate and takes time to answer all of my questions. He sure has a way to put a person’s mind at ease and is always forthcoming and helpful. After my first initial visit I was to go home and wait until my surgery date, which was surprisingly booked very quickly, and then back to Alberta I went. The initial plaque insertion for the brachytherapy went great. The aftermath of the removal not so much. I was in so much pain it was unbearable. But with the swift action of nurses and Dr. Weis, my pain went away and I was able to begin healing.

After some bumps in the road, I went for my follow-up back home in Winnipeg and to my surprise the radiation was working and the tumor was beginning to shrink! I wasn’t sure what to think going in for my follow-up, but I sure breathed a sigh of relief coming out of there. I go for yearly scans now and blood work, etc., which always causes an abundance of anxiety but right now everything seems to be going well. It will be three years in May, 2023 since my cancer journey began. I can’t believe how fast time flies. I have my off days but other than that I think I’m doing well. I’ve been told by many that the strength that I have shown throughout is inspiring, which is so wonderful to hear. I guess I have always thought that strong is the only thing I can be (besides a few off days). I’m not ready to leave this world yet. I’m only 36 years old and I have so much life left in me, I don’t plan on going nowhere for a very long time.

bottom of page