The difference a year can make

Oct. 16, 2017

Nisa Howe Lobb was in a very different place when she attended Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day last year at St. Joseph’s Hospital in London. This year, she hopes to inspire others having reached ‘the other side.

London, Ontario – Almost a year ago exactly, Nisa Howe Lobb was sitting among more than 200 women attending Breast Reconstruction Awareness (BRA) Day, and terrified.

“I’m a confident person – I thought I was mentally prepared,” recalls Nisa of the educational evening at St. Joseph’s Hospital in London. “There were moments when my heart was racing. You wonder ‘what am I going to look like? Am I still going to look like myself? Will my identity feel different?”

Today, Nisa feels whole and happy, and she wants to reassure others that they will get there too.

The 50-year old will be among the speakers at BRA Day 2017, where women seeking information about breast reconstruction after a mastectomy can learn about their options directly from London plastic surgeons, hear from women who have undergone the surgery, and view real results firsthand in the women’s only ‘show and tell lounge.’ This year’s event will take place on Oct. 18 in the Shuttleworth Auditorium of St. Joseph’s Hospital.

At this time last year, Nisa was contemplating a prophylactic (preventative) double mastectomy. Diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2016 and having undergone a lumpectomy shortly thereafter, the Grade 4 teacher from Goderich had just completed chemotherapy when she came to hear what surgeons and patients had to say about her reconstruction options.

Breast cancer was Nisa’s second cancer diagnosis. She had overcome colon cancer in 2004 at age 37. Not wanting to constantly worry about the breast cancer returning, Nisa chose to have a double mastectomy. On Nov. 8, 2016, she underwent the surgery and immediate reconstruction. “I woke up with implants and today, I’m happy with how I look.”

An effervescent Nisa exudes a positive energy and feels she can offer hope – and humour – to others who may be as frightened as she was on BRA Day.

“I know what it feels like to be sitting there (at BRA Day). I can recognize the fear. BRA Day makes it all very real. But being on the other side, I can also bring some levity and reassurance. A year later the anxiety is gone. I’ve carried on with my regular life. You have to tell yourself that you’re going to get through it. You’re going to get to the other side. By speaking at BRA Day, I hope I can help someone see just that.”

Read Nisa’s full story.

In London, BRA Day 2017 will be held:

When: Wednesday, Oct. 18, 7:00 - 9:30 pm

Where: St. Joseph’s Hospital, Shuttleworth Auditorium (Zone D, Level 0), 268 Grosvenor St. (Closest entrance is Cheapside St. Entrance 4)

Registration: BRA Day is free but registration is required. Online registration available.

BRA Day is a national event spearheaded by the Canadian Cancer Society. More information can be found at


Media planning to attend BRA Day are asked to contact:

Dahlia Reich
St. Joseph’s Health Care London
Communication & Public Affairs
519-646-6100 ext. 65294
Pager 10117
About St. Joseph’s Health Care London


Renowned for compassionate care, St. Joseph’s Health Care London is a leading academic health care centre in Canada dedicated to helping people live to their fullest by minimizing the effects of injury, disease and disability through excellence in care, teaching and research. Through partnership with Lawson Health Research Institute and our collaborative engagement with other health care and academic partners, St. Joseph’s has become an international leader in the areas of: chronic disease management; medical imaging; specialized mental health care; rehabilitation and specialized geriatrics; and surgery. St. Joseph’s operates through a wide range of hospital, clinic and long-term and community based settings, including: St. Joseph’s Hospital; Parkwood Institute; Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care; and the Southwest Centre for Forensic Mental Health Care. For more information, visit

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