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Kel’s Story

05 Sep 2019 by Krystal Barter
Kel’s Story

Help us support our community and provide all Australians with life-saving information on their breast and ovarian cancer health risk by donating or fundraising now. 

I never really believed in the work of a psychic but when a friend convinces you to go along for a bit of fun, you go along for the ride, after all, I was only 21.

But the visit probably saved my life when she told me that I would be going into hospital, the situation would be a bit of a journey but everything would all be okay ……. and while I know you probably think I’m crazy, by the end of this, I’m convinced you’ll feel the same.

It was 5 years since my trip to the psychic and all was going well, that was until 2010 when I started to hear her voice in my head repeating the phrase “you will go into hospital, it would be a journey but all will be okay”. It would come and go but every time I heard it, the overwhelming sense that I should go see my doctor would appear. In 2010 it all became too much, I thought I was going crazy, and so I booked into see my GP.

The GP did the usual – blood tests, and check-ups and everything appeared fine. I wasn’t sick, I wasn’t losing weight, I had no lumps, bumps and everything on paper looked fine. So off I went, back to live my life as a 26-year-old; But for some strange reason the voice didn’t go away!

In September of 2011 I went back again to my GP, my intuition so strong and overwhelming I felt as though if we didn’t find something that I must be going completely mad. Much to my embarrassment I told the GP about the whole psychic situation 6 years prior and felt like I had made a massive mistake by going, my GP looked at me like I had two heads, laughed along with me and then admitted the only thing we hadn’t done was a mammogram and ultrasound and so off I went, with the pair of us expecting not to discover anything.

The mammogram showed some Dense Tissue in both my breast’s but nothing abnormal and I was feeling pretty proud at this point like “take that psychic lady you were wrong”. At the ultrasound, the sonographer was lovely and patient, though it didn’t appear there was anything to be worried about. We were about to finish when her hand slipped and accidentally pushed indirectly onto the side of my right breast. The pain was excruciating which immediately set off alarm bells, I knew right then & there by the huge smile that disappeared almost immediately from her face that this was the journey the psychic told me about 6 years prior!

I had a core biopsy done on the spot & after a wait that felt like a lifetime I was told I had a Grade III Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma which was Eostrogen & Progesterone positive and HER2 Negative.

I had an immediate lumpectomy and lymph nodes removed but the thought of starting chemotherapy frightened me to the core. Because my tumour was Hormone Responsive my Oncologist said that there was a test called the Oncotype DX test which costs $4,000.00, isn’t covered by Medicare and not available here in Australia. The tumour gets sent to America for further testing. It determines a score based on the analysis of your tumour and if it comes back under 15 you can bypass chemo. Mine came back under 15 and I went on to have 12 weeks of radiation and 2 years of Zoladex injections which then put me in forced menopause for the 2 years; everything about menopause is just disgusting and the Hot Flushes – wow those are next level!

While I survived the treatment, I did not survive the torment at work – I was bullied by colleagues and often harassed due to the number of days I had to have off work to attend treatments, doctors’ appointments or simply recover from the physical impact that cancer can have upon you. The lack of empathy, the lack of care & the lack of understanding was too much to take and I stepped away from my position.

I thought I would find a safe space through my cancer centre, however due to my age and my treatment plan, which included not having to have any form of mastectomy, the older ladies made me feel uncomfortable and unwelcome within the group. I didn’t know any other 27 year old going through this and it was tough!

Friendships changed, It seems that people didn’t know how to act around me anymore and had no idea what to say, I learnt quick that silence isn’t golden, it’s boring and really uncomfortable! (If you ever have a friend that experiences cancer, please don’t walk away from them, they need you now more than ever. Helping them keep some normality in their lives will keep them sane – trust me)

Through my journey I have decided to train as a counsellor and my dream is to work arm in arm with patients undergoing treatment for cancer & post cancer. Survivor’s guilt is real especially when you lose people that you meet through your journey, and whilst we all wait for the 5 year – “You’re in Remission now talk”, I’ll be the first to admit that The first year of learning how to be proactive in keeping healthy and performing the checks that your Radiologist or Oncologist would normally perform can be scary & overwhelming. I can’t stress enough the importance of creating a healthy, honest & trusting relationship with your GP.

Most of all, from all of this, I want people – with or without cancer – to listen to their inner voice. To speak up, and to have the courage to reach out, seek answers, and get second opinions. We are the drivers of our own destiny, our own health, and if we take a backseat we may very well find ourselves falling off the road of life.

If you feel inspired by Kel’s Story please help us continue to provide all Australians with life-saving information on their breast and ovarian cancer health risk by donating or fundraising now. 

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