In Memory Of Bonnie
The photo above is of my beautiful friend Bonnie. She is a loving wife and mother of 2 little girls, an incredible yoga teacher, a life long student of all things about the human body, a healer who gives more than she receives, a loyal friend, and an all around amazing woman who I feel lucky to have in my life.
Bonnie has been quietly battling stage 2 breast cancer for the last 1.5 years and recently found out that the cancer has spread to her spine and is now stage 4. She has been told that there isn't much that they can do for her in Canada and that she will need to travel to another part of the world to receive alternative treatments. This recent news has been a shock to everyone especially because Bonnie was getting better. She is also so young (only 38 years old!) and has a lot of life left to live and I am determined to assist her in any way that I can to make this happen.
At the moment Bonnie doesn't know where she will be going as she is currently discussing options with her MD and family. Right now it seems like Germany might be where she will be headed. When the cancer spread it fractured her spine so she is currently in a full body brace and wheel chair and cannot travel until she is more stable. I know that the cost for her treatment, travel and accommodations will be somewhere around $200,000 but I haven't received the exact amount from Bonnie yet. Once I do, I will update this page to keep everyone in the loop.
I asked Bonnie to share her story with me to post here for everyone to hear. See below for what I have received from her thus far.
Thank you all in advance for your support, love and prayers. I am hopeful that we can reach our fundraising goal to get Bonnie the treatment she needs so she can heal and live for many, many, many more years to come.
In Bonnie's words:
I was originally diagnosed with breast cancer, specifically invasive DCIS of the left breast. That was in March/April of 2016. When I was diagnosed it was at stage 2, but now it is at stage 4, which they call metastasis.
I did both the western medical approach and integrated naturopathic medicine as my treatment protocol: chemo, surgery, radiation, naturopathic IVs, oxygen therapy, nutraceuticals, juicing, etc.
Fast forward to the beginning of October 2017 when I suddenly had to stop running my routine 5km due to fractures that developed in my spine from the cancer spreading to T1 and T8, leading to instability and putting me in a full on body brace with limited movement. Now I'm in a constant neck/body brace, use a walker and wheelchair. How fast life can change!
I had some pretty intense and specific high dose radiation treatments done at Sunnybrook in mid-October, at T1 and T8 where the spinal fractures exist, so now we have to wait for it to work and for all the side effects to wear off. Right now I'm still blistering in the skin, I have tingling and a hard time eating/swallowing/breathing, super fatigued, lots of pain around the radiation site, etc.
I am currently hooked up to a machine that literally delivers pain meds into my body every 1/2 hour because I have a compression fracture in two parts of my spine. The problem is that the fracture still exists so there is swelling in the spinal cord until they can actually operate and hopefully inject some cement or even put in rods to stabilize everything.
I was told that with cementing I should expect some relief but it'll be never be pain free because of the location and the shift that has happened in my spine's shape and cord. (But I don't believe that!) I was told to expect at least 3-4 months to see improvement, but I'll see it around the 6 month mark. They'll have to do a mid mark imaging to see how the cementing and/or surgery is holding and to assess my travel ability.
Clinic costs in Germany will depend on a my treatment protocol, which will depend on my latest MRI scan to happen in a couple of weeks to see how successful the radiation treatments were and what operations can be done to achieve as much stability in the spine moving forward. I'm in the midst of evaluating treatment protocols and seeing what approach meshes with me.
If I didn't have the complication of this being so close to the brain and CNS, I don't think it would be so complicated, but alas, go big or go home.
This has been a constant trip of surrender and trust. I am realizing now that this is bigger than me and that I need to reach out for help. I have no doubt that there is a treatment out there for me so that I can beat cancer and move forward with my life.
I'm not really sure how to start this message as I never thought I would ever have to share this news. Our dear Bonnie passed away a couple days ago peaceful surround by her family. As many of you know, she has been fighting for the last 2+ years with breast cancer and then most recently when the cancer metastasized to her spine. I was lucky enough to visit her in the hospital a couple weeks ago to spend time with her and her family. She wasn't able to speak much but we made eye contact and sat together holding hands. Words didn't need to be spoken for her to know how much I care about her.
Bonnie is one of the sweetest, kind-hearted people I have ever met. She has a great sense of humour, was always so generous towards others, a true healer and taught the most amazing yoga classes. She had a way about her that she always intuitively knew what was going on in your life. There was so many times I went to talk to her about something and she already knew what I was going to say before I said it. Bonnie is an incredible mother to her 2 daughters and a wonderful wife to her husband Alex. I remember talking to Alex about how Bonnie isn't someone who makes surface level connections which is why everyone who meets her feels a connection to her. I've had so many people reaching out to me that only met her once or twice that are evidence of these connections. She will absolutely be missed dearly by so many.
Please see below for the service arrangements for Bonnie in case any of you want to be there to pay your respect to her and the family or send flowers.
WHEN: Saturday July 28th
LOCATION: Our Lady of Fatima
ADDRESS: 3170 St. Clair Ave. East, Toronto, ON M1L 1V6
I am also keeping this gofundme page open for anyone who wants to make a donation in honour of Bonnie. All of the funds raised will go to a few organizations that were very close to her heart -- Gilda’s Club, Wellspring and North York General Hospital Palliative.
Thank you for your love and support over the last almost year. It means the world to Bonnie and her family. I know Bonnie left feeling incredibly loved. She will be missed but never forgotten.
I wanted to post another update about Bonnie. She messaged me a couple days ago to let me know that she had the spinal surgery to fuse her spine and it went really well. She said she now out of her body brace and they are working on getting her strong enough to sit up on her own and then out of her wheelchair. She is so positive and staying strong through all of this. I am so inspired by her.
She definitely feels all the love and her husband Alex has been reading her all the messages everyone has been sending her to keep them coming. Please continue to keep her in your thoughts and prayers.
I received an update from Bonnie as she went in for emergency spinal surgery. She wanted me to reach out to everyone to ask for prayers and love to be sent her way. Please keep her in your thoughts.
I will definitely post another update when I hear back on how the surgery went.