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, Sarah shares her story…
In early December 2013 my life felt very busy. My husband and I had just bought a new house and we were due to move in the week before Christmas, I was working full-time in a very demanding role and I was a Mum to two boys aged 19 and nine. There never seemed to be enough hours in the day so when I realised my breast screening appointment was due, I almost cancelled. After all I hadn’t felt any changes or noticed anything different.
When the doctor advised me that there was something very suspicious on my ultrasound I struggled to process the information. As I awaited a biopsy it all felt so unreal, as though it was happening to somebody else. The numbness I felt protected me over the next few weeks when I broke the news to my family and friends that I did in fact have breast cancer. It helped me get through two rounds of surgery and six weeks of radiotherapy. It helped me to make decisions about types of hormone therapy and whether to have my ovaries surgically removed. It helped me to carry on being a Mum, a wife and a friend. It helped me to help everyone else cope with what was happening to me.
But when the numbness finally wore off I was left with a whole range of feelings that I didn’t know what to do with, because everyone else thought I should be over it by now. Then I discovered dragon boating, and finally, out on the Brisbane River early on a Saturday morning, paddle in hand with the sun on my face and surrounded by a group of women who’ve walked this path themselves, my head finally caught up with my body.
My Breast Cancer Network Australia Experience
The My Journey Kit was such a wonderful resource following my diagnosis and through my initial treatment. It really helped me to understand and make sense of what was happening to me from a medical point of view, and to organise my thoughts and questions. The Online Network is also a really important source of information. It was so helpful to hear the experiences and advice of other breast cancer survivors and know you’re not alone. This year I attended the information forum in Brisbane, which was very informative and provided excellent speakers, and once again allowed me to spend time with other women travelling along this same path.