May 16, 2016

Natalie’s Story

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natalieAge at diagnosis: 30 & 33 Family history of breast cancer: yes Stage 1, triple positive  

Age at diagnosis: 30 & 33
Family history of breast cancer: yes
Stage 1, triple positive

My mum was diagnosed with breast cancer in early 2010. Following her diagnosis, she began urging me to go for a mammogram. I was breastfeeding my daughter at the time so it wasn’t until late 2010, once I had finished breastfeeding, that I went along for my first ever mammogram. The breast clinic discouraged me from proceeding because I was so young. They said that even with my family history, I was still 10 years too early for routine screening. I insisted on a mammogram and they found breast cancer. I was 30 years old.

I had a lumpectomy and radiotherapy. Following a two year wait for medical clearance and more than a year long struggle to fall pregnant, I was finally expecting my long awaited second baby. Around this time, my surgeon decided to reduce my breast screens to yearly rather than six monthly. I wasn’t comfortable with this so I refused. In February 2014, I went along for an ultrasound as being pregnant meant I couldn’t have a mammogram. It was a six monthly ultrasound and one that I wouldn’t have had if I’d followed my surgeon’s advice. They found breast cancer in the same breast. I was 33 years old, 30 weeks pregnant and utterly inconsolable.

I underwent surgery at 32 weeks pregnant, delivered a healthy beautiful baby girl at 36 weeks and started chemo a week later with her in my arms. I’ve since had genetic testing, hormone therapy and many more surgeries.

That’s my story in a nutshell, without the pain, heartache and tears that accompanied every step in the journey. My hope is for a breast cancer free future. My hope is for a world where my two daughters won’t face the same fear and uncertainty that I’ve had to face. My hope is for a cure so my daughters never need one.

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