Betty Boudreau, a loving and dedicated mother of two adult daughters, Misty and Tafra, and cherished grandmother to five teenagers, was no stranger to a fast-paced lifestyle.
Her life took an unexpected turn in 2018, however, when she began experiencing severe fatigue, accompanied by a persistent feeling of being rundown.
Little did Boudreau know, she would soon be diagnosed with multiple myeloma, or myeloma, a little-known and as-yet incurable blood cancer that 11 Canadians are diagnosed with every day, according to a release.
She was 62 when she received her diagnosis.
Initially attributing her symptoms to work-related stress, Boudreau went on a cruise to recharge, only to spend most of her trip in bed, exhausted.
Upon returning home, her condition continued to worsen, becoming so severe that she would struggle to just open the refrigerator door.
Recognizing something serious was at play, Boudreau made an appointment with her doctor and underwent a series of specialized tests.
That’s when Boudreau received her shocking diagnosis. The news was extremely difficult for Boudreau to process.
“The absolute last thing I was expecting to hear was ‘you have cancer.’ It was surreal,” Boudreau recalled.
Like many people, she had never heard of myeloma, despite it being the second most common form of blood cancer.
“Both of my daughters work in healthcare, so they knew a little bit about the disease. Looking back, I realize I had no idea how quickly and drastically my life was about the change,” Boudreau said in the release.
Along with the myeloma, Boudreau’s tests revealed she was in acute kidney failure, which unfortunately, can be a serious complication of the disease. Boudreau underwent a rigorous treatment regimen, consisting of both dialysis to treat her kidneys and high-dose chemotherapy to help combat her myeloma.
Nine months post-diagnosis, Boudreau was ecstatic to find out that both treatments were successful.
Her condition was finally stable.
Five years later, Boudreau, now 67, is thrilled to be in remission. For the past four years, she has not had to take medication.
She is also incredibly thankful to have adapted to a new ‘normal’, enjoying some of her favorite activities like reading, crocheting, and spending quality time with her children and grandchildren.
Sadly, her diagnosis wouldn’t be the last to devastate this close-knit family.
In 2019, Boudreau’s daughter, Misty, then only 41, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer that would require her to undergo a double mastectomy. A few short months later, it was also revealed that Misty – a registered nurse, had ‘smouldering’ myeloma – a variation of the same disease her mother had been diagnosed with in 2018.
Unfortunately, Misty’s myeloma quickly progressed to an active stage, demanding intensive chemotherapy treatment to help manage the disease, which she continues to receive to this day.
“Learning about Misty’s diagnosis was nothing short of devastating,” Boudreau said.
“I feel guilty that she is going through this, especially as a young mother who had her whole life ahead of her,” she added.
“As a family, we’re doing our best to stay strong and to be positive,” Boudreau continued.
“We’re amazed at the rapid advances in drug therapies and that keeps us hopeful for both of our futures.”
Eager to do their part in helping to find a cure for myeloma, Boudreau and Misty, along with family and friends, are gearing up to raise awareness and funds at the second annual White Rock Multiple Myeloma March, which is scheduled for Oct. 14, at 10 a.m., beginning at White Rock Promenade, by the ‘Grizlee’ bear statue.
The Multiple Myeloma March raises funds to cure and prevent myeloma through investments in Canadian research, accelerate equitable access to the best healthcare and treatments, and improve lives by empowering and supporting all Canadians affected by this devastating disease.
The White Rock Multiple Myeloma March is one of 40 communities across the country participating in Myeloma Canada’s 15th annual nation-wide event.
For Canadians not located near a physical march, or who wish to participate on their own, there is also a virtual march option.
The White Rock event has set their financial goal at $12,000.
Myeloma Canada’s national Multiple Myeloma March objective is to raise $750,000. For more information, visitmyelomamarch.ca
– Black Press Media staff