She’s So Brave – Caley Wolf
“Oprah cries all the time too,” we tell Caley, as she expresses nervousness at the looming interview.
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Caley Wolf and I am 40.
Love that last name – And you’re a teacher?
I’m a teacher as well.
So what do you teach?
Mostly the younger grades. Last year I taught kindergarten. They were pretty cute. I didn’t think I’d like it, I’ve never taught kindergarten before. I was petrified. And It was my favourite grade I’ve taught yet.
I was always elementary. I taught grade six, grade three, grade two, back to grade three, and then kindergarten. I get a lot of love.
So you teach, and you have a family?
Two boys. 6 and 3. They’re wild.
Naturally. Especially with the last name Wolf!
Yeah, they live up to it! The oldest one especially.
You guys live in Calgary?
We (do). We moved back last year too. But we stayed, we didn’t move back to Singapore.
What were you guys doing in Singapore?
We taught at the Canadian International School. Me and my husband, he’s a teacher as well. We are a family of teachers.
Did you meet through teaching?
We did actually, we taught grade six together. Love at first sight. Well. on my part anyway.
It took him a few years but that’s ok, he figured it out in the end.
What do you like to do in your spare time, any hobbies?
I don’t even know. I like to exercise, not to the same extent (my sister) Meagan (Douglas) does, but I’d say that’s what I like to do. (I like) hanging out with my kids. We like to ski. We ski every weekend in the winter.
Nice, so your kids are pretty athletic.
And do you miss being in Singapore?
We do. We miss elements of it. We’re glad we’re home… home is home. (But) we miss the travel. The perks of having a live in nanny. That was really nice
That came with teaching?
Everyone just has them when you have kids. That’s just the way it is. It makes things a lot easier.
So with the story of bravery, could you indulge us?
There is a moment of silence before Caley begins.
This summer, actually the day before my 40th birthday, I got diagnosed with breast cancer. So it’s been trying… for sure. This (interview) is actually perfect timing, because I start my chemo treatments on Tuesday.
I had my surgery. I’m trying really hard to remain positive, because you have to be. I have two little kids and a husband who I adore, so it turns you into a real fighter. It gives (me) strength I didn’t know I had.
When I first got diagnosed it was scary, but then this weird sense of calm comes over you. I’m a firm believer of mind over matter and a positive mindset, and I feel like if you remain positive and remain strong you will overcome this. So that’s where we’re at right now.
So were you diagnosed when you were in Singapore?
No, we had come home already. I actually found the lump myself just before we went to our family reunion. So I had three weeks of not really knowing.
Then I came home and went to my doctor and she thought it was fine. So I went to go get an ultrasound and they biopsied it and I found out the next week that it was breast cancer.
And how far along is it?
Well they think I may have had it for a couple years, just based on the size of the tumor.
It’s funny, I was on the phone when you got here and I was having a conversation with my younger sister’s friend Kristen who had cancer a couple years ago… a different kind. But, we were talking about how messed up cancer is because you don’t feel sick at all, you feel totally fine. In fact this is probably the healthiest I’ve ever been in my life.
The way they treat it is when you get sick. That treatment (when) they’re trying to make you better is the sickest you’ll be. It’s really bizarre.
You had your surgery how long ago?
Almost six weeks ago.
Six weeks. And that went fine?
Yeah they removed everything. So technically according to the doctors I am cancer free.
So they just do a little bit of chemo to kind of nip it?
Yeah it’s a precautionary measure. In case it’s in the blood stream anywhere, so it’s more to kill anything they can’t actually see. They don’t have the technology yet to see if it is in your blood stream. They can’t just take blood samples ands see if it’s there.
If they could, if it wasn’t there they wouldn’t bother with chemo.
Yeah. But, I have to have chemo too because of the type of tumor I had. It’s a very aggressive one.
So you start Tuesday.
That must be scary
We will be thinking of you.
So, What’s your biggest fear, going into chemo.
Losing my hair.
Caley gets a little choked up, but then she bursts into laughter.
(You’ll be surprised by) how pretty you’ll look. And you can always buy fun wigs!
The laughter continues.
We actually went wig shopping today! We picked one up today, and Meagan’s like “you should wear that for your photoshoot!” It’s so beautiful!
Better than your natural hair, you can dye it.
And then you never have to wash your hair. Less maintenance, you can style it off your head.
Yeah! (And) my husband’s bald so we’ll be twins.
There you go. And everyone’s coming down to help you out!
It’s actually been amazing the support we’ve had. People are literally coming out of the woodwork.
Here’s all the food in the world.
Yeah, she laughs.
And I’m guessing this is why Meagan came home?
What a testament to the person you are. People wouldn’t be rushing to help you if you weren’t a great person.
So how much chemo do you have to go through?
20 weeks. So it’ll be little intense.
You’ve got lots of movies…
And books! I went and bought all kinds of loungewear.
Cally and Caley discuss the perks of illness.
There are weird small perks of being sick. When I was in the hospital having my surgeries, it took a year off my life but there’s perks. I watched a lot of tv. Saw all the movies, went on all the walks, of course it happens when you’re busy. There’s not really a convenient time for it.
Though I did say I wish it was when they built the new cancer center (six years from now).
But no, we’ve been pretty blessed with the staff (at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre), and I have to say, living back in a public medical system, how fast they moved was unbelievable to me. From diagnosis to my surgery was less than a month, and from surgery to see the oncologist was the next week. Everything was boom-boom-boom.
You found bravery and strength in going through this?
Now You’ll have to go to all the breast cancer walks and runs…
We did! We went to the boobie ball last weekend, that was amazing. We did the breast cancer walk. We’re right in there. And it’s breast cancer month, what a crazy month to be going through this! It’s in your face no matter what, so I’m learning a lot. It’s good. Scary but good.
So your husband going to work full time?
Yes. And we have so much help. Thank god for my family. I can’t even imagine (going through it without them).
Everyone gives her a nice big hug.
View the Online Gallery
An online gallery of all her images is available for the next 30 days. From the online gallery you are able to favourite images, order prints and share the gallery with your family and friends. The gallery can be accessed via the link below and you can contact Caley directly for her secure password.
We are so fortunate to have had the opportunity to photograph Caley for She’s So Brave and we thank her for sharing her story of bravery with us!
Images by Calgary Portrait Photographer JM Photography © 2017
Some of my Favourite Photos from Caley’s Session
Caley’s Portrait Session Details
Date | 10.19.17
Photos by Jeremy Martel
Editing by Kelly Anne Steel
Blog written by Jenna Anderson
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