Head down to Stanley Street Plaza during the week where a moving ‘Survivor Gallery’ will be installed on the walls, featuring the personal stories of breast cancer survivors.
These raw accounts are poignant, courageous and utterly inspiring. Here, Emma-Louise shares her story…
April 2013 was when my doctor uttered the words that I had a large tumour in my left breast. As the words slowly sunk in I felt my husband’s hand squeeze mine harder. I had my back to him slightly, and I dared not to turn to look at him for fear of completely losing it, right then and there. I had to stay strong and wait to be told about my options. It was an aggressive tumour so my husband and I decided that the best option was a full mastectomy, and with this in mind, surgery was booked for the following week.
The car ride home was a blur. The flood gates opened and the tears wouldn’t stop. I felt numb. All I kept thinking was: why is this happening to me?
A few weeks after surgery, a treatment plan was mapped out and that’s when I think I went into autopilot, an almost robotic state, focusing on the end goal. Treatment had its own side effects but I’m also a Type 1 diabetic which meant fortnightly hospital stays to control my blood sugar levels and chemo nausea, for the eight weeks after treatment.
Losing my hair was another thing all together. Sure, there were good and bad days but for the first few weeks, I hated looking at myself in the mirror. As far as I was concerned, I was sick and ugly, and didn’t feel feminine at all.
Every day my husband would tell me that I was beautiful and that he loved me and was so proud of me. Cancer was NOT going to beat us and with a positive attitude, we would beat this together.
To this day, I truly believe that is what helped get me through each day, as well as the love and support of my family and friends. I believe that cancer has changed me for the better. It has made me realise what is important in life and how not to sweat the small stuff. It has helped me to love myself again.
My breast cancer came back for a second time in May 2016, this time in my left ribcage, and this means I need to have ongoing treatment for the foreseeable future.
My Breast Cancer Network Australia Experience
Breast Cancer Network Australia helped me by providing a support network that knows and understands what you’re going through. It’s so important to be able to connect and talk with other women undergoing the same journey.