On July 8, 2019, the life of Geneviève Hamelin, a municipal councilor in the Maizerets-Lairet district and president of the municipal council, fell into uncertainty, to use her words. “We don’t forget,” she whispered.
Sitting in her doctor’s office, after some tests, the 44-year-old then learned that she had aggressive cancer, but which, thankfully, was still in a very early stage.
“I was extremely lucky,” she says, “because I hadn’t planned on going to the doctor. I was kidding my mother, who is 74, to go see her doctor, and that’s when she said to me, “And you, do you go there sometimes to see your doctor?” So I wanted to lead by example and I went. “
Healthy, with little to pick up, she told the doctor about a “tickle” in her right breast. “It wasn’t a pain, not a bump, but I figured it was going to do me something to say to him.”
After a mammogram, she was called for an ultrasound, and eventually for a biopsy.
“I could have dragged this out and seen it in two, three years,” she said. Often these are not necessarily painful cancers. When I say I was lucky … “
Followed at the Deschênes-Fabia Breast Disease Center by Dr. Louise Provencher, “such an extraordinary and very outspoken woman,” Geneviève Hamelin says she has completely trusted her and relied on her.
“I spent 10 minutes on the internet coming out of his office and figured I wasn’t going into this. No two cancers are the same and I didn’t want to improvise a doctor. “
This decision to “surrender”, Ms. Hamelin believes, has served her very well. She thus avoided a lot of stress, at a time when she was thrown into “a parallel universe of pain”, over the course of 6 chemotherapy treatments and 19 radiotherapy treatments she had to undergo.
During these treatments, where she felt pain like never before, Geneviève Hamelin lost part of her hair, in addition to her eyelashes and eyebrows. She put on weight too. “Taking a shower then was a day’s business,” she recounts.
“At the beginning, I waited a lot for the moment of grace, the one that makes people with cancer say that it has changed their lives, that they are living in the moment, etc. It was almost a pressure of gratitude, but that comes with time. “
The illness caused her to change her perspective on many aspects of life, especially with regard to what had previously distressed or stressed her.
She cleaned up her head. “It’s like we don’t have room for that in our head anymore, and we don’t want to make room for that anymore.”
A lot of kindness
A councilor since 2009, Ms. Hamelin returned to work a few days before her return to the municipal council for the start of the school year, on August 31.
During her leave, she responded well to a few citizens but ended up letting go, encouraged by the mayor, who had also just battled cancer.
“He said to me, ‘If the team could have done without the mayor for three months, you can certainly afford a break too.” “
During her absence, her colleague Suzanne Verreault took over her files, and the officials were also very helpful. “I felt a lot of kindness,” she says.
As can be done in any event, Ms. Hamelin has chosen to see the positive. “It allows us to grow as a person,” she thinks.
The councilor chose to step down as president of the city council, a position she held brilliantly, managing to maintain order in an impeccable fashion.
“I wanted to regain my right to speak,” she explains. So after seven years, I no longer have the patience. “