For Shantelle Arsenault and her family, the story of her cancer diagnosis became a story of two sisters battling for their lives.
The Saskatchewan woman was diagnosed with breast cancer on St. Patrick’s Day in 2015, and began her chemotherapy in three months later. In November, sister Michelle Callfas came to her with the news.
“During my chemo treatments, my older sister came and let me know she was diagnosed,” Arsenault told Saskatchewan Afternoon.
“My family and friends and everybody, all our entire support system, went from, ‘This is Shantelle’s story, her experience,’ to, ‘This is an entire community of support.’”
Arsenault said when she first found out about her own diagnosis, she was angry.
“You ask why, and then you say, ‘Well, why not?’” Arsenault said. “Cause I would rather it be, ‘I’m going through this,’ than, ‘I don’t want to watch someone I love go through it.’”
Arsenault said her sister was hesitant to get checked at first because of what she was going through with treatments.
Arsenault used Facebook and other forms of social media to make her story public.
“In an effort to educate people around me and make sure that the people around me that were supporting me had the support of others,” she explained.
Arsenault said her family doesn’t have a strong history of breast cancer. Now, the sisters are getting tested to see if they contain the gene that can make their children susceptible to the disease.
Both Arsenault and Callfas have gone through cancer treatments and are recovering from it.