My name is Karina Akarana I am 39 years of age born Palmerston North New Zealand, lives in Alice Springs, Northern Territory. I am the second youngest sister with 4 sisters Angel the youngest, Lotu, Sharlene and Leanne. I am a single mum of a soon to be 16 year old son and am a Correctional Officer. For most of my life I have had benign breast lumps since approx 18 years of age. Early December 2012 after a routine self breast check I came across another breast lump. I made an appointment with my GP and a referral of a ultrasound was requested.

I had a ultrasound where the radiologist identified some questionable lumps so a needle tissue core biopsy was conducted. It was Australia Day and I was talking to my little sister Angel on the phone, she asked me what my results was from the biopsy.¬†Christmas, New Years and my 35th birthday had just passed and the festive season got the better of me. With all the activities around I forgot I hadn’t received my tests results back, I told her no news is good news right. I contacted my GP after the public holiday where they explained they were aware of the ultrasound referral but unaware of any biopsy conducted or results. They told me tho they would follow it up and will get in contact with me.

February 2nd 2013 I received a phone call at work that an appointment was made for me at 8am the following morning and I was required to see my GP. ¬†I had a gut feeling it wasn’t going to be good results but I was crossing fingers it was ok. That morning I was informed I had stage 2 breast cancer left breast from there I was referred to a specialist at our local hospital. I think everything went sort of blank from there, I was trying to register everything, try and soak in as much information as I could while trying not to cry.

This saw surgery, a lumpectomy then relocation to Darwin for 2 months for radiation. I struggled with the side effects of the Tamoxifen but I what was necessary to prevent this ever happening again. Exactly 3 years to date I have my routine yearly scheduled mammogram followed by ultrasound and a needle tissue core biopsy.

I am diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer right breast. I stop taking the Tamoxifen and start immediate 6 months chemotherapy followed with surgery a mastectomy and reconstruction. I am now back on medication Zoladex monthly Injections (estrogen blocker) and daily medication Letrozole & Venlafaxine (anti depressant). Physical, emotional and mental changes affected me hard and I struggled accepting what this disease did to me inside and out. I am due to have my left breast mastectomy and reconstruction done on April 19th this year and have opted for a full hysterectomy. I have taken a years leave without pay while I complete my surgeries and work out the woman I am today. Breast cancer twice under 40 I still ask god why me, tho my cancer journey has allowed me to cross paths and meet some amazing people some I call family to this day. I have done more rewarding voluntary work and had a lot more me and mummy son time, something I haven’t had for a while.

I’m taking every day as it comes, one step at a time. Embracing life with what it is and wanting to share my story so I can provide awareness and support to other young women.