Norma Bearblock has experienced the depths of loss and the challenges of caring for others throughout her life. She has witnessed the devastating impact of cancer as she has watched both of her husbands succumb to the disease. These experiences instilled Norma with a great empathy and a desire to provide care and support to those battling this illness. Having spent a couple of years in nursing, tending to cancer patients, her devotion to caring for others was mirrored by her eldest daughter, who followed in her mother’s footsteps and also became a nurse.

However, Norma’s journey took an unexpected turn in July of last year. She suffered a broken arm, forcing her to wear a sling for six long weeks. During this period of recovery, she noticed an unusual bite on her left breast. What started as a small irritation transformed into an abscess, leading her to seek emergency medical attention.

At the emergency department, Norma had a CAT scan done hoping to alleviate her fears. Fortunately, they detected no signs of any serious issues, and so they gave her antibiotics, then sent home. Despite the initial relief, the abscess continued to grow causing Norma great concern. Urgently needing answers, Norma went to the Breast Health Clinic at the Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre (JPOCSC) for further evaluation.

Norma Meets Dr. Janzen

In January of 2023, Norma met with Dr. Rhonda Janzen, a surgeon at the Breast Health Clinic at JPOCSC, for a consultation. Dr. Janzen recommended that Norma have an ultrasound and biopsy done to determine the nature of the growth on Norma’s breast. The uncertainty weighed heavily on Norma’s mind as she anxiously awaited the results.

Another appointment with a cancer oncologist confirmed what Norma feared – she had developed breast cancer. The oncologist reassured Norma that surgery was a viable option for removal, but had no urgency. And so, the date for her operation was set in March.

Patiently waiting for the operation date to come, an unforeseen and alarming development surfaced. In February, a month before her operation, Norma experienced an uncontrollable bleed. This prompted her eldest daughter to rush her back to the Breast Health Clinic as per Dr. Janzen’s instruction.

Suddenly, Norma’s situation became urgent. Dr. Janzen, her team of nurses, and the operating staff immediately moved the operation up to that very same day. And they were successful in removing the cancerous growth.

Now cancer free, Norma reflects on her journey and concludes that “although one never anticipates developing cancer, when it comes, first you feel shock, then you feel a disbelief that your body has been invaded.”

Norma says that “every member of the surgical team, nurses, radiologists, and technicians are superb…they listened, and they were very compassionate. In the healing stage now, I’m forever grateful to these professionals at the Breast Health Clinic.”

Norma’s story shows what resilience and the power of compassionate care can accomplish. We are proud to support this incredible facility hosting various clinics that work to change lives, every day.