Hi there, I am Janine and I’m 47 years old. I’m a social worker, specialising in forensic mental health, and I work full-time for Queensland Health. I have lived in Brisbane for 9 years now, and have 2 adult children. My son is 27, he lives and works in the city, my daughter is 18 and she is studying nursing. My partner Mark is a Senior Police Prosecutor with QPS.
I love living in Brisbane, the weather is wonderful and the city is beautiful, I have such a good life here.
In November 2015, the stupid lump I felt in my left boob turned out to be cancer (Her 2 positive, to be precise). And quick as a flash, in December I had a mastectomy. By January 2016 it only got worse; scans showed it was metastatic having spread to my bones and liver. It was a horrible time of information overload, and with a poor prognosis, I was lined up for 6 months of chemo (Docetaxel) and also started on Herceptin and Perjeta.
I took 6 months off work because I was so crook, with 3 hospital admissions; I was scared and at times overwhelmed with the doom and gloom of it all. Gradually I returned to work full- time, but I had taken a major knock to my confidence and suffered chemo brain to boot! I remain on 3 weekly IV treatments of Herceptin and Perjeta, probably for the rest of my life, but so far so good as it seems to be holding the cancer. I do get seriously tired though, so any work/life balance is an enigma.
The last 2 years have been difficult, but not impossible. I have become very appreciative of so much, really enjoying the little things. But equally, I can lose my cool very quickly, easily annoyed at people who waste my time! Iv’e needed to get my head around my mortality and in turn try to strengthen my spirituality, so I practice bhakti yoga and meditate regularly. I travel when I can, take regular micro-breaks, and spend time with family whenever possible. My partner makes me laugh and my children keep me in check, so I feel loved and I am grateful, most of the time.
PS: As I write this it seems I have Uterine cancer too, so a hysterectomy and further treatment plan will ensue. At times this cancer malarkey can be too much, and it’s exhausting. This is when I value and appreciate the stories of love and hope, sheer grit and determination, from women and families in similar situations. God bless!!