Name: Vesna Baric MacIntosh

Age: 45

Occupation: Massage Therapist/ X-ray Technologist (retired)

Age when diagnosed with breast cancer: 35

Breast cancer type: Estrogen Positive

Breast cancer stage: 4

Treatment: Right mastectomy 2007 followed by a year of chemo and radiation. For last 5 years – pamidronate and letrizole and Zometa for the last year

Tell us a fun fact about yourself that has nothing to do with cancer

I greet every day with a smile and rarely complain.

What’s your go-to pick-me-up song?

Any song that’s not sad.

How did you discover your breast cancer?

Breast self examination. I asked my Doctor for a mammogram and she said I don’t need one – then I reminded her that I performed mammos for a living.

What went through your head when you received your diagnosis?

Shock, fear and annoyance because the Doctor gave me a prognosis (I didn’t ask for any ‘numbers’ – he was the first and last Doctor to ever do so)

What’s the craziest thing someone said to you after being diagnosed with breast cancer?

“You don’t look like you have cancer!”

Who or what is/was your biggest source of support throughout your experience with cancer?

Every one who loves me – I have a large family and many friends

What is/was the most difficult part of being a young woman with breast cancer?

My children were 4, 5 and 6 when I was diagnosed.

What’s something unexpected you learned about yourself as a result of having breast cancer?

My grandma used to say “What’s better – 50 excellent years or 100 miserable ones?”.

In one sentence, what words of wisdom would you pass on to another young woman who has just been diagnosed with breast cancer? 

I never “battled” my cancer – nor did I make “friends” with it. I just say, “Today’s not the day.”