Have you ever had one of those moments when you’ve done something so out of character that you even surprised yourself?
On August 22, 2013. I went out and bought a dog.
So far, so normal. But we already had a dog – a German Spitz called Gizmo. He had been with us for over 4 years.
And we lived in a rental property.
The moment I saw Cici's big black eyes, I fell in love with her. She cost $300. I’ll never forget the look on my husband’s face when I walked in the door. He turned white, I thought he was going to have a heart attack. I told him, please just trust me, I don’t know why I need her, I just do.
CiCi and I became mother and daughter. She would not leave my side and I adored her.
Two months later I was sitting on the lounge watching television with my husband and son. It was a very hot day. I subconsciously rubbed my hand across the top of my chest. Was that a lump I felt? I asked my husband to check.
Yes, it was.
I made an appointment with my doctor the next day. I wasn't concerned - I my yearly mammograms were always clear. My doctor checked it and sent me for a biopsy.
The day I was due to get the results, I was in the doctor’s surgery. It was November 4, 2013. The television was filled with news reports about Cyclone Haiyan, which had made landfall in the Philippines. It showed vision of a young woman called Golda who had lost her daughter and sister in the tidal surge that swept their home away. She looked bereft. I watched her tell her story with tears rolling down my cheeks.
When my doctor called me into her room she hugged me and told me she was so sorry to inform me I had breast cancer. She thought I was crying for fear of bad news.
I told her no, I have just seen something on the news that has made me feel so sad.
Honestly, when she told me I had breast cancer and needed to have a bilateral mastectomy, I didn't react at all. All I could think of was how this poor Golda had lost her little daughter Angel, and her sister. I drove home thinking, how can I help her? When I got home and told my family I needed to have urgent surgery, they were very upset. But all I could say to them was “but what about this poor girl? We need to find her and help her".
I opened my computer and started searching and through some vision Golda had done for CNN, I was able to track her down. She was overwhelmed someone on the other side of the world knew about her story and was willing to help her.