Last February, I went for a routine mammogram that changed my world – and then my body beyond all recognition.
What followed was a whirlwind of 12 biopsies, a breast cancer diagnosis, consultations, surgeons and an overwhelming mountain of information.
I was diagnosed with Stage 2B breast cancer, which had already spread to my lymph nodes.
A six-month course of chemotherapy — 16 cycles — was to begin as soon as Gold Coast Hospital (which is amazing) could book me in. I shaved my head before I started chemo because, in the intense dust-storm that my diagnosis kicked up, it felt like one way I could take back a tiny little speck of control.
While you're here, below is a quick how-to on checking your breasts. Post continues after video.
As I sat in consultation after consultation with a range of surgeons (public and private), which I lined up urgently to arm myself with as many facts, options and costs as possible, it became clear that I had to let go of my initial hope that a lumpectomy would be an option. I was looking at a mastectomy and as soon as that was being discussed; I said I wanted a double mastectomy. Plus, lymph node clearance on my right side.