For personal & family reasons 2015 had already been a challenging year.
Having put off making an appointment for 6 months to see my GP about a breast lump because I was ‘too busy’, & previous breast lumps had been given the all clear, in June 2015 a series of mammograms, ultrasounds & biopsies revealed that this particular lump & maybe another was in fact Breast Cancer.
As it turned out I was one of the lucky ones.
The post surgery pathology report revealed my Breast Cancer was early stage, small, confined to the breast, slow growing & hormone receptive.
It also meant my treatment plan did not need to include Chemotherapy as well.
All of these factors combined also meant my prognosis was very good & having undergone the recommended treatment am currently Cancer free.
I was also very lucky to have the loving support of family & friends during this time.
While there’s a lot of criticism about the state of our health care system here in Australia, when it comes to Breast Cancer treatment I was truly overwhelmed by the speed & quality of care I received during my Breast Cancer experience.
From that very first mammogram to undergoing surgery at Belmont Hospital & then Radiation Therapy at the Calvary Mater Hospital, my surgeon & all the doctors, specialists, Nurses & Oncology staff, in fact everyone I came into contact with during treatment (& there was lot!) was extremely supportive & professional.
My experience also brought to light the importance of the amazing work of the McGrath Foundation.
This organisation has not only helped raise awareness of Breast Cancer, but has enabled those going through Breast Cancer to have access to McGrath Breast Care Nurses who provide physical, emotional & psychological support to Breast Cancer patients & their families.
Another important service & source of support was the Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA), which is an online organisation dedicated to providing information & support for those diagnosed with Breast Cancer.
The My Breast Cancer Journey Kit provided by the BCNA became an important resource, especially in the early days when your trying to get your head around the initial diagnosis & thinking about what may or may not lie ahead once you’ve had Surgery & received those all important Pathology results.
While there are many things this Breast Cancer experience has taught me – such as the importance of family, being in the moment, it’s OK to be scared & letting go of things of you can’t control, the most important lesson has been:
Always, always put your health first – no matter what.
Because without your health you have nothing.