I had just turned 32 and life was pretty perfect. I had a gorgeous 15-month-old baby boy, a loving husband, I had just started working part-time again, and was about to buy a house. Life was brilliant.
I had just finished breast feeding, so thought it normal when I felt a lump in my breast. I sat on it for a month until I thought I’d kill two birds with one stone and get the doc to check it out while I had my son in for conjunctivitis. Two scans and three doctors’ appointments later and my worst fear was confirmed.
I had breast cancer.
Invasive early breast cancer in one breast, a dodgy mark in the other (which turned out to be a benign fibro adenoma) and under my arm, cancer in a lymph node. Next came a blur of surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, a load of drugs, reconstructive surgery and being told I would need 5-10 years of tamoxifen (hormone therapy – which is like having PMS constantly).
I must say I dealt with chemo and radiotherapy pretty well. I was offered an easier version of chemo to save my ovaries as it turned out my tumour was very small (1.2mm).
Losing most of my hair was pretty horrid, but I think my brain helped me cope as I thought I had more hair than I did. Only looking back at photos now do I see that I had very little (in my brain I was sort of rocking a crop/pixie do – it was NOTHING like that, but thanks brain for the false confidence, it got me through!).
Watch: Could you recognise the symptoms of ovarian cancer?
The things that really helped were my incredible family. They were always there whenever I needed them, at the drop of a hat – quite a feat considering one lot live in country Victoria and one lot live in London!