Lucy’s Story

14 Jun 2018 by Krystal Barter

I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer at 34yrs old. I found this by accident. My car door hit me in the chest about 2 months earlier and I thought nothing of it until I couldn’t lay on my chest and what felt like a bruise and rib pain was a 4cm lump stage 3.

 

2 weeks earlier to all this, I was made redundant from my job after 10yrs and was planning to finish work at the end of May and go on a holiday, which I was to book the day I went to see the Dr for my biopsy results.

However that day, my whole world literally was turned upside down. Within hours after seeing my GP I was at the hospital that same morning meeting my surgeon,  booking in scans and surgery.  That moment my Dr mumbled the words ‘it’s cancer’ I felt completely numb. My first words were ‘I don’t want to die and burst into tears’.

When I met my surgeon at the hospital I remember pacing her room while she was going through the options. I wanted nothing other than to have both my breasts removed. I wasn’t doing this again. I wanted to eliminate that risk of this ever coming back or what I at least have control of.

Within a week I was in surgery having a double mastectomy. I was literally staring death in the face and had no idea what fight was ahead of me to survive.

I had a breast reconstruction so I woke with both breasts gone and tissue expanders. It took me days to be able to look in the mirror at my chest and I didn’t want the bandages to come off. The nurse put a towel up on the mirror for me as I struggled to look at what was beneath.

My surgeon came in after a few days with my results which was delivered in typical medical jargon. I was by myself and all I heard was the words words chemo therapy and that was when I broke down. I just thought ‘I can’t do this’ and ‘how on earth was I going to endure and survive chemo’. I had to. I had to find a way to face this. It was the hardest part of my life and as the saying goes ‘ you don’t know how strong you are until being strong Is the only choice you have’.

I was in for the works – 16 rounds of intense chemo and 25 rounds of grilling Radiation.  Not to mention being hospitalised and isolated after my first round of chemo as I caught a virus and taken to emergency by ambulance because my ribs and muscles just gave from the radiation and I was in intense chest pain.

My life for a year was Drs, Physio and recovery. I thought how do people go to work and maintain some part of their normal life and go through this… It was hell for me and mentally was another level. My Drs are  with me for life as I face continuous surgeries due to capsular contracture and being BRCA1. I’ll have to have my ovaries removed and endure the bells and whistles that come with that!

Going through cancer physically is one thing and mentally is a huge struggle. Till this day I have anxiety that I cannot explain. Everyone says its great, its all over and you’re normal now…this is hard.. what is normal. I had a job and was consuming what I thought was a ‘normal life’ going out, travelling etc… but I had to restart everything all over again. This was the best second chance I had to give it another go. Its not easy but I am figuring it out.

I’ve learnt my scars are now part of me forever. Its my normal. This is my body and hopefully someone one day will love them as much as I do. Im celebrating the wins, holding my ground, not taking shit and protecting my energy to invest with the things that matter to me the most and thats my beautiful family and friends.

If I could go have changed anything it would be:

I wish I had the chance to connect with younger women going through a similar journey.

I wish I had the opportunity to make more informed decisions about my reconstruction.

I wish I knew about Pink Hope when I was going through this.

I’m 4yrs in remission and I pray I get to 5yrs cancer free. I’m back to work and getting on with my new life which is amazing.

I got through with the support of my family and friends who never left my side so I never felt alone as I felt they all went through this with me. I can’t stress enough how important it is to know your body and if anything doesn’t feel right, don’t wait, see your Dr. My only regret is I wish I saw my Dr 2 months earlier when that car door was sending me a life saving.

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