My breast cancer journey begun before I was diagnosed. For months and months I ignored a hard ‘lump’ in my breast as it was too difficult to get to a doctor in Derby, I was too young, its probably nothing anyway…blah blah blah. We only had an Aboriginal Medical Service and would often sit there for hours waiting to be seen and I didn’t want to take time away from work. So, I would not think about it and get on with life. It was when I moved to Perth in January that I had my breast checked by a doctor at another AMS. She confirmed that she too could feel a lump and I was sent off to have an ultrasound, I assumed it was nothing more than a cyst. It was at the ultrasound that I began to get worried; the technician, after looking closely at the dark mass on her screen, asked me if there was a history of breast cancer in my family. There wasn’t and I wondered why she asked me that – she probably knows what a cancerous tumour looks like, have I got breast cancer? I cried on the way home and decided to invite my adult children over to let them know what was happening. We all tried to remain positive, thinking the results would be nothing more than a cyst or a benign tumour. However, after all the tests were conducted it was confirmed in early March, I have breast cancer…at 38 years of age.
Since then I have had a lumpectomy and axillary node clearance. My tumour was almost 7cm’s long and 4 of 22 nodes removed were cancerous. I later found out that my margins weren’t clear and I will be having a double mastectomy before Christmas 2019. I also received 8 high dose rounds of chemotherapy and I am currently 14 of 25 sessions through radiotherapy as well as about 3 weeks into starting Tamoxifen.
I’d love to become an ambassador for So Brave as I am now aware of how common it is to be diagnosed with breast cancer under the age of 40 and how hard it is to access medical care in remote areas Becoming an Ambassador would give me the opportunity to address and/or raise awareness of these issues, particularly in the Kimberley region of WA where I’m from as these stories often go untold and I believe my story could save lives in the future. Ultimately, I want people to discuss this topic and seek medical care at the earliest sign of an abnormality in their breast. I also want for it not to be such a taboo topic amongst the Indigenous communities and that if diagnosed and living remote, success stories are told to these women about receiving treatment away from country.