Woman is cancer-free and having the best Christmas ever
A woman in Burin who was told last year that she would have to wait six months for an MRI and treatment is now cancer-free.
This time last year, Sylvia Letournel was having a difficult Christmas. She had symptoms of cancer, which had already claimed her husband and other members of her family.
Last week, Letournel's doctor told her she was free of cancer.
"It's the best gift that anyone could receive," Letournel said. "I'm so, so happy."
She said that she barely remembers Christmas last year.
"My two grandkids came home from Alberta. I know they were home, but their grandma went through the motions with them, that was it," she said. "I probably didn't smile."
Letournel originally told her story on CBC's Here and Now last year. Two days after her story aired, she received a call from Eastern Health offering her an MRI appointment for the following day.
The results showed that she did have cancer, and it had spread outside her cell walls and into her lymph nodes.
She said that if she didn't speak up, she would not be here to tell her story.
"I was going to yell and scream to anyone that was going to listen to me," Letournel said. "I'm not ready to go, I'm not ready to give up, I'm not ready to lay down.
"So this is why I kicked up and I screamed and I think I did the right thing, because if I hadn't, I wouldn't be here today. I know I wouldn't."
The year after her diagnosis was a hard one for Letournel and her family. She went through a seven-and-a-half-hour surgery, followed by a series of aggressive chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
Jamie Hillier, Letournel's son, said it was hard for him to see his mother go through this process.
"She had her good days, and other days, I came and she was laid in bed, she didn't want to talk," Hillier said.
"My mother is that person – she don't burden anybody, she keeps it to herself.
"But since this, totally different. She's back to herself. I got my old mom back."
Even with two follow-up surgeries in January, Letournel said that she feels like she's back to her old self again.
"I feel wonderful. I feel like dancing," she said.
"I feel like screaming 'Look, I'm okay, I'm going to make it.'"