My name is Lisa Brook, I am writing to let you know that I am a Breast cancer survivor and model ambassador for the So Brave young women’s breast cancer charity. Part of my role as model ambassador is to appear in the 2020 So Brave calendar with 11 other breast cancer survivors under the age of 40. The purpose of the calendar is to raise funds for research. So Brave empowers breast cancer survivors like myself and raises awareness of breast cancer in young women.
We are trying to eliminate the stigma of breast cancer being an elderly women’s cancer.
· More than 2 young women get diagnosed with breast cancer everyday.
· More than 1 young woman dies of breast cancer each week.
· In 2018 900 young women in Australia were diagnosed with breast cancer and over 65 of these women died from this diagnosis.
I would like to share a little of my story with you. In 2016 I was 29 years old, mother to a 10 year old boy and expecting our little miracle baby in June. In the first two weeks following my new son’s birth I was experiencing feeding issues. This was not something I was going to let stress me out as I couldn’t feed my eldest son.
At around four weeks post birth, I was having a check up for my caesarean wound when I mentioned to my doctor that my left breast had not softened up like my right side after stopping breast feeding. Upon an examination the doctor sent me for an ultrasound and aspiration of a Galactoceles (milk cyst). Just days later I was phoned to come in to the doctor’s office.
The next morning, my partner and I, along with our newborn went in to the doctor’s, as soon as my doctor said I’m glad you have someone here with you, I knew it wasn’t good. I turned to my doctor and said I have cancer don’t I? Four words and my whole life changed, “Yes its breast cancer” those are words that will stay with you forever.
All I could say back to my beautiful doctor was I can’t have cancer, I can’t die, I just had a baby. I’ve just given my son the brother he always wanted and the baby we were told we would never have. I can’t die. The next 40 minutes was filled with shock, tears and utter dismay. Driving straight to my parents and sitting in the car thinking how on earth do I tell my parents that I have cancer?
A cancer diagnosis is a shock and whirlwind of events that the human body and mind are just not prepared for, from the day I was diagnosed it was 4 days later and I was told I was stage II grade III (DCIS – Ductal Carcinoma In Situ) booked in for a mastectomy for 3 weeks later and booked in for dose dense chemo 2 weeks after surgery.
There is no processing time, there is no down time. So here I was a 29-year-old mother with a 5 week old, 10-year-old and now, a breast cancer patient.
This is just a small snippet of my story but I am not alone, the So Brave Calendars are full of young women just like me sharing our story to help enlighten, empower and bring awareness to women who like me, would never have expected this to happen.
Breast cancer isn’t just a hereditary cancer, family cancer lines start somewhere and in my family it just happened to be me. And hopefully, will end with me.
Each So Brave model featured in the So Brave 2020 calendar is painted with body paint by an artist. The calendar aims to bring awareness that cancer does not discriminate and all women from teens to great grandmothers need to be breast aware.