Carmen Hou: Surviving the Odds of Stage IV Breast Cancer.

Carmen Hou: Surviving the Odds of Stage IV Breast Cancer.

In a world of haves and have nots and as our social media accounts become increasingly more saturated with unrealistic images and body types, how much of our self worth do we really attach to our physical body appearances?  From not having enough in the chest to have too much in the thighs.  What would it take to change this narrative for us? 

This is one woman’s brave journey to beat the odds of breast cancer and self love. 

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Imagine welcoming your first baby girl into this world at the age of 32 and while you are still learning to navigate through motherhood, 14 months later you were told the worst news imaginable.  You’ve been diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer.  Th e cancer has grown to 5cm in your left breast and has started to spread to your spine.  It’s official, you have metastatic breast cancer and the survival rate for five years is less than one-third. 

For Carmen Hou, this was her reality.  A month later, she would undergo aggressive chemotherapy treatment and a mastectomy of her left breast.  Yet the cancer had other plans and remained active.  

Her treatment plan following her surgery includes precision radiation, a drug trial and admittance to a program where scientists sequenced her DNA to match her to the best treatment for her cancer. Carmen has since remained stable with the help of her trial medication and finding support groups to assist with her healing journey.  From afar, I have watched Carmen be her best for her daughter, sharing new experiences and making memories together, and now dominating the real estate world as a new agent with Rennie and Associates Realty Ltd., earning herself Rookie of the Year.

This past March marked her 6 year “cancerversary” she calls it, and as you can already tell, though the cancer isn’t gone, Carmen’s strength, confidence and glowing optimism isn’t either. 


Here is what Carmen had to say about her journey of self love, body acceptance and appreciation post surgery. 


Has your self image changed since having your mastectomy?

It took me a long time to get used to my new body. I would be ashamed of my scars and my missing body part. Slowly over time, I got used to the new me. I realized that I am still the same person inside. People treat me and see me as I am. I am still loved and that helped with my self image.


What were the feelings you had towards your body before, during and after surgery and your chemotherapy treatment? 

I felt alright about my body before in general. I would have the occasional criticism about certain areas that bothered me that only I would notice. During chemo, all I focused on was getting enough nutrition and trying not to lose too much weight. I was throwing up a lot on the chemo treatment. After surgery, I knew that I really had to take good care of my body. It's been through so much. I wanted to give it plenty of water, nutritious foods and tried to exercise. I need my body to be healthy and for me to have a strong immune system if I wanted a fighting chance at healing from my cancer.


What are some advice you could share with those who struggle with our own self confidence and body/self love?

Your body is a miracle, it intuitively knows how to heal, to breathe, to give you energy. Your body is amazing in any shape, size or form. Be grateful your body is healthy and keeping you alive and well.

What are some daily habits you swear by to help foster self love?

Gratitude has become a big part of my life. I instantly feel better just focusing on things that I am grateful for. It could be something as simple as I am here, I am alive, I am not in pain, I get to hug my daughter today. Thank you to my amazing body for healing and keeping me here on earth.