Lois’ Attitude of Gratitude
Lois Yanuzzi is a golfer, a swimmer and a hiker. She’s also living with cancer. Each morning she wakes up in her Tiny Township home with a grateful heart.
“I know how valuable each day is,” said Lois. “I am one of the fortunate patients at RVH, as I continually feel well and am living life as usual.”
“He told me he thought my breast cancer had returned,” said Lois. “I was devastated. I thought it simply could not be possible.”
In November 2020, Lois went to the Emergency Department of her local hospital for what she assumed was pneumonia. After a thorough examination, the ER physician suspected something else.
He immediately sent a referral to the Simcoe Muskoka Regional Cancer Centre at RVH and within two days Lois had an appointment. Tests confirmed what the doctor had suspected. Her cancer was back. Again.
Her first experience with the disease was in 1983 when she was 37 years old. At that time her prognosis wasn’t positive, but she pulled through and remained in remission until 2000. That’s when she noticed something funny happening with the scar tissue from her first surgery. The cancer had returned. However, she fought it once again and kept it at bay for close to 20 years. So when it came back for the third time, Lois was shocked.
“When I think back to my first visit to RVH in 2020, I can’t remember much,” shared Lois. “My head was spinning thinking of facing that battle yet again. I was really overwhelmed.”
Every cancer journey is unique. Including Lois’. The oncology care team at RVH is careful to personalize treatment to each individual’s needs. For Lois, that looked a little different than the norm.
She had a growth in her chest that penetrated her sternum.
“Fortunately, my oncologist mentioned that I qualified for a clinical trial and asked me if I was interested in participating,” explained Lois. “For me, it was a win, win. I would be monitored more often, and, I could possibly help others fighting this horrible disease.”
For Lois, it’s the little things on this journey that have made the difference.
“The whole team at RVH has been incredible, right down to the registration clerks,” she shared. “It was explained to me, in words I could understand, what it meant to be part of a clinical trial. All of my team made me feel very comfortable and optimistic.”
She has no intention of letting her breast cancer slow her down.
“I made a choice early on in my cancer journey to enjoy every day,” said Lois. “Each day is a gift and I get to choose what I do with each one. I have never felt like a victim of this disease. I am a person living with and not dying of cancer.”
Where she lives is very much part of Lois’ recovery. She does what she loves where she loves to do it and with the people she cares most about. Plus, she can still get her treatments at RVH without having to travel too far.
She lives by a few mottos. One of which is what she calls an “attitude of gratitude.”
“Cancer has given me more than it has ever taken away,” said Lois. “I truly believe that.”
If you would like to keep patients like Lois living the wild life, please make a donation.