On Mother’s Day, 2019 Tanya was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, an incurable blood cancer that affects white blood cells. She had just scaled back on office hours to see more of her kids but was more exhausted than ever. “I remember taking my girls to school, just starting the work day and then having to lie down on the couch” she said.
That March, she experienced rib pain and night sweats so bad that she had to change her pajamas. First dismissing them as muscle strains and hormone imbalances but after losing an alarming 15 pounds on a cruise, she knew something was wrong.
The deep dive into diagnosis started with extensive bloodwork that led to a CT scan which revealed that Tanya’s rib pain was due to bone damage caused by the cancer. In May, she began 16 weeks of chemotherapy hoping to reduce the cancer by 50% to safely undergo an ‘autologous stem-cell transplant’ at The Princess Margaret that fall. Over the summer, Tanya went in to discuss the procedure and had several tests on her heart, lungs, and immune system to ensure she was a good candidate. “I met with a team of people at The Princess Margaret including Dr. Donna Reece and I knew I was in the best hands possible” she said.
On September 11th, 2019 with her husband Adam by her side she began the stem cell collection process and on September 25th, the healthy cells were returned to her body. Tanya says, “it was a moment of pure science” and was sent home just 14 days later with close to zero complications.
Tanya is currently on a chemo maintenance drug which has helped reduce the myeloma in her blood by 99% but she knows that living with an “incurable cancer” means a relapse could be in the cards. However, she is confident in the direction she is headed and looks forward to celebrating her 40th birthday this October.