Cancer education session, discussion Saturday at Glooscap Heritage Centre
Breast cancer survivor Margaret Ross, right, hugs her father Ron Ross at his home in Millbrook. The retired RN wants people to understand the benefits of breast screening and learn coping tools at an upcoming free education session
MILLBROOK – Margaret Ross will never forget the words she heard sitting with her physician, striking with such force it shook her to the core. "You've got cancer," she heard, as the rest of the conversation became a blur of words. She barely remembers being told referrals would be made as soon as possible to remove the lump growing in her left breast. "It's quite a shock to hear it," said Ross, nearly two-and-a-half years after her positive diagnosis and subsequent successful treatment of the disease. "I actually got lost walking home." Today she is feeling well and is volunteering with the Healing and Cancer Foundation, reinforcing the importance of breast screening and early detection, as well as helping others who share a similar life-changing experience. "The first evidence of problems was around 2002," Ross said. She said a small growth in another area of the breast was tested and considered a false alarm. After that episode, Ross underwent routine breast screening as a precaution. "It wasn't really until toward the end of 2008 there was definitely a tumor in the left breast." Within three months the less-than-two-centimeter growth was removed, followed by radiation treatments. Now at age 59, the former Millbrook resident, retired RN and cancer survivor wants to help others coping with the disease by sharing her story along with educating people about services offered by the foundation. Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. the foundation will host The Healing Circle, a free public talk and reading by radiation oncologist Dr. Rob Rutledge and psychotherapist Dr. Tim Walker. The Healing Circle is a compilation of stories of people who have been on the journey of recovery from cancer. "I see this as part of my own recovery," said Ross. "I know there are families here who have family members who have been diagnosed with cancer. "Family members don't always have a chance to talk about how they are freaking out, too and this is a chance for them to talk about how they are feeling." Ross said she is hoping people will come to the event to learn about tools, which can be learned to promote good health and maintain it. "Recovery has a lot to do with hope and attitude," she said. "One has to be a fighter to deal with this type of disease." She said the event would give people with a common issue a chance to network and learn from one another, while receiving expert advice from health professionals.