The first time Nikki was diagnosed with cancer, she was home alone with a newborn and a toddler. On top of the tidal wave of emotions that come with being a new mother, cancer added layers of raw emotions including vulnerability, uncertainty and fear.
She had been monitored closely during both pregnancies for HSIL (a condition of the cervix), and while the chances were small that the cells could turn to cancer, it was a possibility that soon became her reality.
In May 2015, after welcoming their sweet baby Sofie to join her older sister, Charlotte, Nikki knew in her heart that something was wrong. Follow up tests turned into a CT scan and MRI and amid life with two babies, she received the diagnosis: Stage 2 cervical cancer. Nikki recalls, “I couldn’t breathe. My life felt like a movie reel going both fast and slow.”
From there, cancer management quickly became her full-time job. Despite feeling overwhelmed, Nikki took a deep dive into her yoga practice and welcomed holistic self-care to help with the demanding, often gruelling treatments of chemo and radiation.
Two years later, just shy of being cleared by her determined Princess Margaret Cancer Centre medical team and celebrating successful treatments, Nikki faced a new diagnosis: invasive breast cancer. A complete mastectomy was the only option.
Although devastating, the life lessons gained from her first experience had shifted her perspective: she knew how to breathe, find inner stillness, and trust the wisdom of her own body along with her highly skilled medical team. Nikki chose to have a double mastectomy (even though her left breast was healthy) and opted out of reconstruction. For Nikki, the decision to go flat reflected her deep feeling of something she describes as ‘Beautifully Complete’.
Today, five years into remission, Nikki is grateful for the support and excellent medical care she received at The Princess Margaret. She volunteers in many programs that support life after cancer. She encourages others to follow their heart, trust their instincts and to live a creative, inspired, mindful life while leading by example to help us all to understand that we are whole – and beautifully complete – exactly as we are.