‘Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage’ wrote the ancient Chinese philosopher and poet, Lao Tzu. And it was love, strength and courage that Calise and Chris drew upon when she was diagnosed with metastatic Breast Cancer (mBC) on her birthday in July 2020.
Four months prior to the diagnosis, Calise had just given birth to the couple’s third child. When she developed back pain, she was told by doctors that it was likely stemming from post-partum depression and was put on a course of medication to manage symptoms. Chris recalls that period as being incredibly difficult, he watched his wife’s struggle with not just the pain but also in caring for a newborn. They explored various treatment options to no avail, the root cause of Calise’s pain remained a mystery. It was only when a specialist suggested a biopsy, did the truth reveal itself.
Calise and Chris could not believe that she had been diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer; they sought second and third opinions but soon began to accept the enormity of the challenge ahead.