By MICHELLE MAKIN
It was just over a year ago that I was living the life of a normal 37-year-old woman. I had three young children, a loving husband and a job I really enjoyed as marketing manager for a leading fashion brand. Then a breast cancer diagnosis turned my world upside down.
I have decided to tell my story because I really want to help women who are going through what I have been through and I want to warn other women to be vigilant with self checking and not think, like I did, that I was too young to have breast cancer.
I had discovered a lump under my breast that was tender so I mentioned it to a GP whilst my daughter was unwell.
I thought it might be a hormonal issue. The GP agreed saying I was too young to have breast cancer, there was no family history of cancer so it must be ‘that time of the month’.
I carried my life on as normal without giving it much further thought until one day I cut my finger. When the cut on my finger would not heal I was forced to see my GP who, concerned at the state of the cut on my finger, asked me if anything else was worrying me. I mentioned that I also had some tenderness under my armpit, she then conducted a breast examination where she found a lump under my breast.
Little did I know that at that point my life had changed forever and I had started that journey towards a breast cancer diagnosis. A journey of scans, doctors appointments, biopsies and finally those dreaded words “Sorry you have breast cancer”.
Hearing those words I felt like my heart skipped a beat. My immediate thoughts were for my children, particularly for my daughter. Would she be OK?
From that point on the journey snowballed. I spent my days meeting doctors and surgeons, having scans. I had been diagnosed with a particularly aggressive form of breast cancer, before I knew it I was checked into hospital for a double mastectomy followed by aggressive chemotherapy.
I think I really experienced the lowest moments when my hair fell out during chemotherapy and it has been difficult dealing with the physical and emotional scars left by chemo and surgery. The scars will always be with me.
Cancer is a lonely place and the road is long with a lot of obstacles, but you eventually come out the other end. My journey has inspired me to help others and I am determined to make this personal battle an incentive to raise awareness for this cause.
With the support of my employer, NONI B, I am raising funds for the Breast Cancer Institute of Australia to go towards breast cancer research and hopefully one day there will be a cure for every person diagnosed with breast cancer.
Everyone is getting right behind it. We are a company with a majority of female employees and thousands of female customers, many of whom have also been affected by breast cancer in some way.
After a breast cancer diagnosis you live everyday with a little bit of worry, but at the end of the day, I believe what’s meant to be will be. Right now I am trying to focus on living my life, being with my family and raising awareness about this important cause. If I can help even one other person, then it will make my own struggle seem worthwhile.
Michelle Makin lives in Sydney with her husband and 3 gorgeous children and is marketing manager at fashion retailer NONI B.
Leading fashion retailer NONI B has joined forces with the Breast Cancer Institute of Australia (BCIA) to raise much needed funds in the ongoing fight against breast cancer. NONI B has launched a gorgeous range of pink clothing and accessories, available in store during National Breast Cancer Awareness month this October. From October 7th to 20th October a portion from the sale of these products will go towards helping NONI B achieve its goal of raising $50,000 for the BCIA.