Cancer’s grueling treatments usually happen behind closed doors. But one patient in Windsor, Ontario gave the public a glimpse into what a morning of chemotherapy can look like by live streaming it to the world.
Michelle Prince was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2014, and at first, like many Canadians who learn they have the disease, she was unsure of what to expect.
“That deer-in-the-headlights feeling, and having no control over what was going to happen next, was utterly terrifying,” Prince said in an interview on CTV’s Your Morning. “So I thought if we could pull back the curtain today and show people what it’s like, people will think ‘Okay, this is doable. I can do this.'”
Today, Prince had her 56th round of chemotherapy in a battle against the now Stage 4 disease, which has progressed from her colon into her other organs. The mother of two went through the hour-and-half-long treatment (as she does every other Monday) live on Windsor Regional Hospital‘s Facebook page this morning. Over 8,500 people and counting have now watched Prince, a former chiropractor, answer questions about her illness and speak candidly about her ongoing battle and its impact on her and her family’s life.
“I fake this disease as much as I can,” she said live this morning when talking about the importance of maintaining a “normal” life for her two children, a seven-year-old son and a nearly-10-year-old daughter. “I think I stay positive because it’s a choice that I have. And everyone around me is better for it,” she added, noting that her prognosis originally didn’t have her living for as long as she has.
Around the 25-minute mark, as the IV dripped powerful chemo drugs into her body, Prince was asked how she was feeling. “I’m super sleepy,” she admitted, and one of her nurses, who was on camera at the time, assured everyone watching that that’s normal.
The best days during chemo, Prince said, are when she manages the symptoms well — napping is very important. The worst days are when she hasn’t stayed on top of her medicine or is struggling mentally. “The drugs make you more emotional and if you’re not having positive thoughts, it can definitely stir the pot,” she said.
As a viewer watching the chemotherapy, you’ll get the sense that Prince is the true definition of a fighter. Her energy and positive attitude is infectious, even through a computer screen.
As the live stream came to an end, Prince has a lighthearted, but poignant reminder for everyone watching: “It’s not all bald heads and vomiting in here,” she said, speaking of the cancer treatment centre in Windsor, which is often a positive space.
And that’s a good reminder to get.
In case you missed it, watch the full video here: