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, Susie shares her story…
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2013 my world was already upside down. My mother – my best friend and mentor – had just been diagnosed with metastatic cancer in November 2012, the same year I got married and was supposed to live ‘happily ever after’! So when I was told I had breast cancer I stood still in a moment of shock. But I didn’t have time to be shocked, I had to be there for my mother.
I felt that my world was now back to front as well as upside down. My diagnosis and treatments – bilateral mastectomies and chemotherapy – all became a blur. But I was fortunate to have inherited my mother’s traits – she was tenacious, stubborn and determined, and she lived for her family and friends. She loved her life and was not keen on leaving it. Needless to say all my family and friends were very supportive of the both of us, and I felt truly blessed. After Mum passed away I picked myself up and continued on with another 12 months of treatment.
What does it mean to be a breast cancer survivor? I often ask that question when I develop a new ache or pain, or find a suspicious lump. No-one knows what the future holds so as a survivor I have learnt to live in the now.
My Breast Cancer Network Australia Experience
Breast Cancer Network Australia sent me a My Journey Kit, which became my Bible. It was full of helpful information. I would refer to it many, many, many times. I then joined the Online Network which made me feel like I wasn’t alone. There were thousands of other women and men facing the same trials. As my health improved I was able to attend the Breast Cancer Network Australia forums where I found answers to lots of my questions. The forums have also given me the opportunity to meet other survivors face-to-face. I am now a Community Liaison volunteer with Breast Cancer Network Australia.