This Women’s Health Month, we’re empowering you to take charge of your health. Expanding on the pillars that shape CanPrev Women, we will be highlighting the health journeys of four amazingly courageous women. Women who felt that something was ‘off’ in their bodies, and took matters into their own hands in an effort to reclaim their health. We hope these stories inspire you to take a page out of their book, so you can feel your best.
Everyone has people in their lives that depend on them. And when we’re caught up in taking care of family, friends, colleagues and everyone in between, it can be hard to find the time and energy to care for ourselves. But it’s important to remember that in order to be truly present for others, you need to be present for yourself. What does that look like? It starts with putting yourself first.
Take Tanya Salituro. As founder of CanPrev and a mom of four, she sure has a lot on her plate. And her journey to get where she is today wasn’t easy. Let’s rewind to her university years, when Tanya’s world was turned upside down. At age 19, she discovered a hard, pea-sized lump on her left breast. After consulting with a doctor, she was told she was too young for cancer, and she put it out of her mind. But as the lump became more painful, she sought medical advice once again and ended up being given an unexpected and devastating diagnosis: breast cancer.
Following her diagnosis, Tanya was moved to connect with other cancer survivors through the Canadian Cancer Society and research alternative approaches, ultimately discovering that the suggested one-size-fits-all approach wasn’t going to work for her. So, after consulting trusted healthcare practitioners, Tanya chose to undergo a lumpectomy and radiation, and was deemed cancer-free.
As a young adult, putting herself first came naturally to Tanya. But 11 years later, when she was happily married with two children, she felt the familiar painful twinges in her breast reappear in the same spot. And this time, her instincts were different. She was breastfeeding her second child and didn’t want to stop, so she decided to fight through the pain. In retrospect, she realized that she had put herself in a dangerous situation by doing this, even though it felt right at the time as a caregiver. Eventually, Tanya sought the medical support she needed and maintained her strength through two more breast cancer diagnoses and a mastectomy.
The takeaway? Putting yourself first can be really difficult when you have people depending on you. But even so, it’s important to take care of yourself. Because your overall wellbeing is what allows you to be able to take care of those you love.
Check out our conversation with Tanya, as she talks about her three separate journeys with breast cancer and how this taught her the importance of caring for her own health to continue caring for her loved ones.
Until next time,
If you’re looking for some guidance on putting your health first, here are some resources: