Golnaz Karimi was about to begin her second year of the Master of Architecture program at Carleton University in Ottawa when her husband noticed a lump on her right thigh. Since Golnaz was an active runner, covering five kilometers a day, they assumed it was a sports injury.
That lump turned out to be soft tissue sarcoma. Following the diagnosis at The Ottawa Hospital Cancer Centre in September 2014, the treatment for the cancer included two months of radiation followed by surgery and months of rehabilitation.
“I was surprised,” says Golnaz. “I thought it was going to be a simple surgery. Going through the whole process, I realized this was not a simple surgery.”
Surgeons removed the tumour as well as two of her quadricep muscles. Although she was in hospital for just one week, Golnaz had an open wound for almost five months. Her rehabilitation included walking in water and using crutches for two months followed by a cane, and Golnaz is the first to remark on the strain of the process.
“There were times when I was so exhausted that I gave up and stopped doing my exercises for a few days,” she recalls. “It was my own personal strike.”
“I’m still tired and very different from whom I was. My lifestyle was around running, swimming, yoga and biking everywhere. Now I can’t even drive. At times I get frustrated as I relearn my abilities.”
In July 2015 Golnaz proudly “ditched” the cane and walks her dog, Max, every day. She also returned to her studies and is thinking of walking in the 2K T-Bone for Rattle Me Bones on October 25, 2015.
“It’s amazing the care at The Ottawa Hospital,” she says. “The support I received made my experience easier for me. It would have been a lot different if I didn’t have that care. I’m really lucky to live in this town and have access to this care.”