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, Wendy shares her story…
I had a history of having cysts in my breasts so when I found some lumps in 1998, I simply told my GP. But after a mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and had surgery to remove the lump.
When I first heard the words ‘you have breast cancer’, I asked lots of questions, but as soon as I got in the lift to leave the building, I just went numb.
I had a mastectomy, followed by reconstruction, 10 months of chemotherapy and 34 doses of radiotherapy. At the end of it, I was really happy with my new breast that was made from the fat from my belly. Bonus!
I spent happy quality time with my best supporters – my husband and family – and when my two grandchildren would run through the door to visit me, it made all my troubles disappear. I also valued time spent with my mum, who was 89 and who sadly passed away during my chemotherapy.
Eighteen years down the track and life is still busy. I started a support group in Cleveland, with help from Breast Cancer Network Australia and Cancer Council, which I still run today. I feel very grateful that I am still here when I know people who have passed away. I get a lot of enjoyment from seeing women and men making lifelong friends and supporting one another during their breast cancer journey.
I now realise life is for living to the full, being and doing the best you can, and making time for those you love and care about.