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Lianne D

 
Lianne D

It’s been 15 years since Lianne D. was diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia and went through 3 rounds of chemotherapy. Yet even today, she continues to struggle with ongoing memory loss, “brain fog”, and fatigue that she attributes to those intensive treatments. 

“I have blocks of my childhood that are just gone from my memory. I struggle to find words, and I tell my kids things like ‘Go put your cereal on.’ It is so frustrating,” she says.

Lianne also has to deal with ongoing survivor’s guilt. “I was initially given a 5% chance of surviving, so I am overwhelmingly grateful to be alive. But it makes me question why I survived and others don’t.” She channels those emotions into volunteerism, helping cancer patients through multiple channels including Cancer Care Ontario’s Patient and Family Advisory Council.

Working on this Ontario Cancer Plan, she advocated for a strong focus on symptom management and supportive care for patients and families. “When you feel nauseous at 2 a.m., you don’t care about anything except just wanting to feel better. The better we can manage symptoms for patients in a timely manner, the better their quality of life will be. It’s better for caregivers too, as it alleviates their stress and anxiety.”

Knowing that patients and families were involved in the planning of Ontario’s cancer strategy is “comforting,” she says. “The patient's voice is woven throughout every aspect of the plan, ensuring a fundamental understanding of what patients and their families require and experience as they move through the cancer diagnosis and treatment timeline. It is my hope that these refreshed and updated priorities will keep improving patient satisfaction and health outcomes for all Ontarians."