Breast Cancer doesn’t discriminate on age, fitness, health or history. I was 29 years old, fit, healthy, with no family history, and it happened to me.
I was diagnosed in August 2015 at the age of 29. My first thought was whether I would live to see my young children grow up. I needed to get through this no matter how hard times might get, as I had a husband and two beautiful young children to live a life with.
When I was diagnosed my husband was overseas for 10 days. I made the decision to wait until he arrived home to tell him the devastating news. I held onto the biggest news of my life but I was numb anyway, everything was all new to me. I was 6 weeks into new employment working 4 days a week, regularly exercising, being a wife and a mother to two beautiful young daughters aged 2.5 years and 7 months. I maintained all this throughout what was to come in the next 12 months – a lumpectomy, 6 rounds of chemotherapy, and a double mastectomy. I pushed through and did it all and only every stopped when I was admitted to hospital. I was very fortunate to have my husband as full-time support, together with my family, as he had recently sold his business and was taking time out. He supported me in my decision to work through my treatment and help me raise our children together. I was determined to get through this. The day after my first round of chemotherapy I was at the first BCNA luncheon in Perth, photographed with Shane Crawford – “cancer or not, I’m here to support the cause.”
One of the very first things I did after being told I had breast cancer was to order a My Journey Kit from BCNA. I knew what breast cancer was but I didn’t know the ins and outs of it. It was all new language to me. The My Journey Kit helped me understand the different types of breast cancers and what they mean. It provided so much helpful and comforting information to get me through the biggest battle of my life. Also the BCNA online network was incredible. With so much information on the internet about breast cancer it is so comforting knowing there’s a trusted and supporting network of people sharing their experiences to help others, and that we are not alone.
How did the people in your life react when you told them you had breast cancer?
My immediate family were in complete shock and devastation, confused at how this could happen to me. I was fit, healthy, had no family history and gave birth to 2 kids within the last 2 years, all in top health.
My friends were the same. When I was diagnosed I didn’t want to cry at the beginning, as you get tired of crying. I typed the longest message to my nearest friends, apologising that I was telling them the news over a text message, but asked them to understand, as I didn’t want to cry. However, naturally when you see each other you cry anyway.
Once word got around, the support and messages from people on social media from friends to acquaintances to strangers was just incredible and so meaningful at a time like this.