Today seven women will die of breast cancer.
Amanda Vea Vea is NOT one of them.
She was due to die on October 31st 2012.
That’s the date she was given.
Over 18 months later she is glowing – inspiring women, making them laugh, cry and smile with her amazing attitude.
Amanda peppers our conversation liberally with words like ‘grateful’, ‘fortunate’, ‘fantastic’, ‘wonderful’ and ‘blessed’. Words many of us, myself included, hardly use once a week.
Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by Mater Foundation. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic and written in their own words.
Amanda says she feels lucky, positive and happy. When was the last time you felt that good?
Amanda does every day. But there is one thing you need to know about Amanda Vea Vea – she has terminal cancer.
It was March 2012 when Amanda noticed the lump on her breast. She had been working in the mines in the Bowen Basin. One morning she felt a lump in her breast and despite giving herself regular breast checks, she couldn’t believe what she found, couldn’t believe she hadn’t noticed it sooner. “I put my hand on a lump probably the size of a lime and I was shocked. Just shocked.”
Amanda received the results a couple of days later. It was a devastating diagnosis for the 38-year old mother of four. Two weeks later: things became grim. She was told that it was more than breast cancer. In fact the cancer had spread to her lungs, liver, spine, pelvis and bones.
Amanda’s cancer is stage four terminal.
She says initially she was in limbo. But after her treatment started at Mater Public Hospital in Brisbane things actually looked up for her. It was the help in particular from an organization called Mater Chicks in Pink that helped her get through the last 18 months. Mater Chicks in Pink provide invaluable, practical support to women like Amanda, from providing mastectomy bras to counselling. This post was not meant to be ‘about’ the Mater Chicks in Pink – it was about Amanda’s story – but her success and vitality is so tied up in the organization that it is hard to separate the two.
“Being with the Mater is the difference between living with cancer and dying from cancer,” she says. Amanda feels she literally owes her life to the women from Chicks in Pink. Initially the ‘Chicks’ helped her learn the language to cope with the diagnosis. They provided art therapy for her kids and financial support. They even supplied her with her wigs.