It may sound strange but I always thought that I would get breast cancer. I had an inkling that it would happen to me but when it did at 34 it knocked me for 6. My darling dad dies at 52 of a very aggressive form of prostrate cancer and 2 years later his sister and my Aunt died of bowel. I was 21 when dad died and my life changed forever after his death. I took on a life is short, play hard mentality and travelled the world and partied like most young Australian kids do.
When I returned my sister started talking about asking our grandmother (breast cancer survivor and still going strong at 86 years old) if she would get a blood test to determine if our family had the very newly discovered BRAC 2 gene. We did ask Nanna but she was not overly keen and because she was elderly and had recently lost both her children to cancer we did not want to push her on the subject. So we dropped it….
Fast forward 13 years and thanks to a very diligent GP I was sent to get a mammogram at 33. I had no lump nothing suspicions to speak of at that stage but my GP knew about my family history and sent me along as a precaution.
In that scan they detected small calcium deposits on my left breast which were biopsied and came back clear. This was the start of my cancer, I just didn’t know it then.
The finally did diagnose me the following year when I went back for an annual scan. The calcium deposits had changed and Grade 2 cancer was in my breast and in one of my lymph nodes.
Diagnosis of that gravity in your early thirties is frankly f*$#ed. Over the next 2 years I had over 12 surgeries including a double mastectomy/6 rounds of chemo and IVF cycle to preserve some fertility. During my treatment I was strong, I kept going and I got to the end.
I think its now 3 years post diagnosis it sinks in what has actually happened to you and your body. I’m now trying to start a family which is proving to be a steep up hill battle. I have an amazing partner and we ended up with 4 embryos in the freezer. So far 3 have failed to become a baby and we are down to the wire with one chance left.
Cancer robs you of a lot, in my case it was not a gift. I believe a cancer diagnosis to any one at any age is devastating and from that point on your life does change forever.
Cancer took my breasts and now its also taken my fertility. I’m also petrified it will come back one day and that mentally is a strain that can consume if you don’t control it. I’m sorry but to me none of this is a “gift”
It has made me look at life differently and although you have hard days they are getting fewer and further between. I felt relieved to find Pink Hope early in my diagnosis, why do we feel better when we realise that were not the only one with messed up genes ? Krystal has created a place where women and men come together and know that we are not alone. Her warmth and her genuine compassion for young women dealing with these issues has helped me personally and also my family.
I have no idea what my future looks like, at this point I cannot see it clearly as the issues I am dealing with are out of my control. I do however know that Pink Hope will always be part of my life and for that I am extremely grateful.