Emily

Age at diagnosis: 25
Family history of breast cancer: no
Stage 3, triple negative

I found a lump on my right breast in the shower, I hadn’t felt it there before. I told my Mum, who happened to be at my house helping me with my young daughter I had a lump.

Mum was straight on me. You need to get that checked out she said and so I listened and made a doctor’s appointment that afternoon. So I got into one of my doctors I usually see and had no idea he was actually a breast surgeon in China before he came here. He examined me and told me I had 3 lumps. One on my right (which I had found) and 2 on the left. He sent me straight into Warrnambool to have a ultrasound.

I got a phone call a few days later from a nurse asking me to go have a biopsy. I have never forgotten what she said next ” with your age it won’t be anything it will just be fatty tissue so don’t stress to much”.
I went on a Tuesday and had the biopsy, the doctor said I would have the results in a week. The same week in the Friday morning I got a call from my doctor asking me to come in.

I rang my mum and told her, she wanted to come with me and I told her to go to work Andrew would come with me ( my husband). We had a 10 month old girl who didn’t sleep we were having lots of trouble with her sleeping. At the time of my appointment Indiana had fallen asleep. I told Andrew I would be fine and to stay home with Indi as I didn’t want to wake her. That was a massive mistake.
As my doctor was telling me I had breast cancer. I remember saying to myself your ok it’s ok, it wasn’t until he asked me where I wanted to go for treatment I started to realise what was going on. He called Geelong hospital and started the process. I remember him saying on the phone ” I have a young lady here 25 years old with stage 3 aggressive breast cancer when can we get her in”. Then it hit me and I broke down.

Going home telling Andrew and calling my Mum was one of the hardest things I’ve done. A couple of weeks later I had a lumpectomy on my right breast and 4 lymph nodes out on both right and left side. Then I had appointments with oncologist and fertility clinic and after a lot of discussion I was put on an injection drug, which shut down my ovaries to try and protect them for chemotherapy.

I started a course of strong chemotherapy which included 6 rounds every three weeks. With a 10 month old girl and, hard times ahead we decided for the first week after each chemotherapy round we would stay at my mums so that my husband could still work and Mum was there for Indiana and myself when we needed her.

During my chemotherapy treatment my Father was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer, which just deviated me. After chemotherapy I was advised to have a double mastectomy this was because I was gene tested which results came back inconclusive and the type of cancer I had was hormone negative, my doctors didn’t know way at my age I had got breast cancer and had told me my chances of cancer coming back where high.

In April 2010, 4 months after I had finished chemotherapy I had my double mastectomy. In 2015 we were able to come off tamoxifen (medication) and try to have another child which we thought wouldn’t be possible. In 2016 we were blessed with another beautiful daughter Lilly. There was one condition of having Lilly afterwards I needed to have a full hysterectomy. My family and I thought this was fair. I now have 3-4 years left for taking tamoxifen and happy to say I’ve been in remission for 7 years now.