BEGINNING OF MY JOURNEY
On 21st February I had my mammogram and was called back for a biopsy, I was still thinking the lump would be found to be benign. However 2 days later it was confirmed as malignant and I felt my world collapsing around me. I saw my Surgeon 2 days later and we discussed the options of lumpectomy and mastectomy and I went home after the appointment to discuss with my family my options and make a decision.
DIAGNOSIS OF SECONDARIES
My breast cancer is oestrogen hormone receptor positive and HER 2 negative. I have been on Tamoxifen since 8 March and the tumour had already shrunk by about one-third. I have had radiotherapy to the 2 bone lesions and have occasional pain in those areas when I have overdone it a bit. I have made changes to my diet and lifestyle; I am now on a vegan diet under the supervision of my GP and a Dietician. I have increased my daily serves of vegetables to 7 and am walking most days of the week. I am feeling well and hopeful for the future. I feel very fortunate that my secondaries were picked up at the time of my initial diagnosis of early breast cancer.
I am 43 years old, the eldest of 8 children and a wife and mother to 2 boys. I grew up in a large, close, loving family in Queanbeyan NSW. After finishing school in Canberra I took a gap year and went to Paris where I worked as an au pair. I then returned to Australia and studied at Sydney University for an Arts degree majoring in French and Japanese. After graduation I successfully applied for a place on the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program (JET) and then spent 3 years as an assistant English teacher working for a prefectural board of education and visiting senior secondary schools. At the end of my contract, I and 2 British male friends cycled through South East Asia for 6 months. Starting from southern Japan, through China, Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia, ending at the Singapore Post Office. We clocked up more than 6000 kms and had many adventures along the way. I then returned to Sydney to work for a Japanese Government agency. I met my husband through an old Uni friend, fell in love and married. In 2001 we had our first baby, William. I returned to work part-time at the Heart Foundation when William was 14 months old. In late 2004 we moved from Sydney to Toowoomba seeking a better lifestyle for our family. In May 2005 William was diagnosed with Autism. In 2006 our second son Jack was born.
I love living in Toowoomba. I have made some wonderful friends here, who are being incredibly supportive during this challenging time of my life. Along with emotional support, they have organised a roster to prepare and deliver meals to our family. I am so fortunate.
ABOUT MY FAMILY
I am married to Graham, a former Architectural Technician and Interior Designer. Graham is taking a break from work at the moment to be home with me.
We have 2 sons, William, 10 years old and Jack who is 5 years old. William has high functioning Autism, his main challenges are social interaction, receptive language skills, anxiety and self-harming behaviour. William attends a special school and is very settled and happy at his school. Jack started Prep this year and is thriving, he has made new friends and loves learning.
My Mum and Dad and brothers and sisters all live far away, in Queanbeyan, Sydney and Singapore. We are all very close and keep in touch via the phone and email. I also have 2 Aunts who have both been treated for breast cancer and they are soul mates for me during this journey.
I have a beautiful family and so much to live for.