Bif Naked said she didn’t have time for breast cancer.
When the Juno Award-winning musician was diagnosed in 2008, she was a newlywed with a sick dog, a family that was falling apart and an album to record.
“Not a lot of people have the luxury to go have a nap because they just had chemo,” Bif told Metro Vancouver yesterday.
“Most women still have to take care of four kids and a husband and still get to chemo on the SkyTrain … Chemo was the first vacation I had in 20 years.”
Bif, who eventually underwent a lumpectomy and had her ovaries removed, will be speaking at the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation’s 18th annual Awareness Day luncheon at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver on May 6.
She said for most people, cancer is a private and personal experience, but she was reluctantly thrust into the spotlight and had to go through treatment in the public eye.
“I felt really self-conscious. In our culture, wellness is an importable attribute, especially as a woman.”
Bif found support from other chemo patients, her health-care providers and humour.
At one point, she told her oncologist, when referring to her breasts, “Cut ‘em off. They’re an A-cup, anyway.’”
She brought popcorn to chemotherapy treatments to share with the other patients, with whom she quickly bonded.
“You get to wind up with a fellowship of women and a support group that’s so integral to your well-being.”
The experience, she added, has made her stronger: “If I get a recurrence, instead of taking popcorn to chemo I’ll probably take a piñata.”