My name is Nat, and this is my story.
I’m a mum of five amazing boys, a wife, and a Primary School teacher and as of last week- I’m officially cancer free. The past year has been a crazy journey full of twists and turns, but despite this bump in the road, my family has managed to find joy and happiness through gratitude and positivity.
My story begins on 30th of October 2017, when I was showering and felt a lump on my left breast. Because I had to teach school the next day, my husband calmed my nerves and helped me book an appointment for the following Saturday. Nerves and the feeling of uncertainty hung in the air for the days in-between.
Once I was able to be seen by a doctor, I was told to have a mammogram and ultrasound- later leading to a biopsy. It was after this on November 11th, that we received the news that I had breast cancer. Our world was flipped upside down.
My husband and I gathered all the boys together that morning and told them of my diagnosis and we cried collectively as a family for about half an hour. However, our family is not one to lament in sadness and we quickly realised that the only way out is through. Our family has grown happier and stronger through this whole journey and that is something we can be truly blessed about. My family is truly my A-Team.
On the 4th of December, I underwent a single mastectomy and had an expander put in. To my surprise, I felt great coming out of the op! I was truly really impressed with my new teeny tiny boob.
After this, I saw a new Oncologist to further discuss my treatment plan. I asked all the questions and at the end of the day I decided to do chemotherapy. I saw the numbers, the stats, my stats, it looked really good to do chemo. I did not want cancer to come back EVER, therefore I made chemo my thing for the next 3 months. I only needed 4 rounds which equates to once every 3 weeks. Then I realised- oh yeah… I’m also going to lose my hair.
I decided to get a number 2 fade so I could gradually go bald on my own terms. One morning while everyone was still asleep I decided to do a little research on turban and head scarf tying. My mum had around 30 gorgeous scarves I could use, and my wonderful friends found some awesome styles online with a brand called The Wrap Life and sent me some wraps as a gift! Since then they have even featured me on their Instagram!
I asked to start chemo ASAP, so I started on the 4th Jan and I finished on the 8th March which was the day after my 37th Birthday- and mate did we celebrate!!
A major part of my routine over the last 2 years has been swimming with the Manly Bold and Beautiful Swim Squad a few mornings per week. Since the day I was 5 weeks post-surgery, I’ve been swimming again at least 3 times a week. I think it truly helped in my positive frame of mind and the fact that I didn’t get super physically sick from the chemo. It has also helped being surrounded by my beautiful friends and family and those I met through this amazing community. Their care and genuine concern for my well-being has brought me so much strength and joy.
I have so many things to celebrate and be proud of- mainly being my choice to make conscious health and life decisions which have now enabled me to have a future!
If I could share 3 things from this experience they would be: Firstly, do your self-examinations. Secondly, live with no regrets. Thirdly, choose to be kind because you never know what people are going through.