Sarah and I found each other though a Facebook Breast Cancer page, we shared stories, and I found myself traveling her journey with her. As you will see when you read Sarah's story, Sarah was diagnosed in April of 2018. It wasn't until last month (October) we found out we are distant relatives. Her husband is my brother in laws nephew. Well I did use the word distant......
Below is Sarah's story.
On Friday 20th of April, 2018 I received the call no one wants to answer, "You have Breast Cancer". It was 5 weeks before my 30th Birthday and the last thing I was expecting to hear. I was 29, a mum of 3 boys, and had just absorbed the news that my mother with another udder (step mum) was about to begin chemo for... You guessed it, Breast Cancer. I had already lost my biological mother to the big 'C'. My step mother was just starting her fight and here I was staring down the barrel of the same fate! Life became a blur of appointments, scans, doctors and big words I didn't dare Google. Triple negative ductal carcinoma is one of the most aggressive forms of Breast Cancer around but I am very lucky. My quick thinking GP had me fast tracked for surgery when the results were atypical so it hadn't spread to my lymph nodes! My 30th Birthday was spent preparing for chemotherapy and holding my children tight being unsure of my future and more importantly theirs. My family has been my rock, my sons and husband patiently being by my side, My mother in law doing endless school runs, and my cousin working tirelessly to support us, it really does take a village.
Being a younger Breast Cancer warrior has created conversation I never knew possible. So many say "You're to young for breast Cancer" Reality is 6% of of all Breast Cancers affect people under the age of 40, but the awareness is not there. My treatment is almost over, but my journey is just beginning. I've completed chemotherapy, had a double mastectomy with expanders in place and next year I will receive silicone implants. Awareness is the first step in finding a cure.... and as they say
Here is a little of share my story thus far:
What an adjustment. Privacy, schedule, certainty.. Not anymore!
I've changed from a 29 year old independent women, working in a new career in the disability sector, planning holidays with my boyfriend and living each moment.
Now I am a cancer patient. I have to take off my bra for every specialist who asks.
My body is a battleground. I've had countless blood tests; breast tissue and lymph glands removed; surgery recovery; a port put in my chest; chemotherapy; multiple internal ultrasounds of my cervix and ovaries.
Needles, drugs, cannulas, anesthetics, backless gowns, wigs and hair falling out in clumps.
Poking, prodding, jabbing, rushing, scans and tests. So. Many. Tests.
GP, Surgeon, Oncologist, Genetic Counselor, Breast Care Nurse, Fertility Specialist, Fertility Counselor, new GP, integrated medicine doctor and nurses galore!
Ultrasound, biopsy, mammogram, bone density scan, CT, MRI, echo-cardiogram.
This has been my life for the last 2 months. I do what I'm told when I'm told to do it.
Goodbye independence - you can't work in the job you love.
Hello family home - moving back home as a 29 year old women.
Goodbye privacy - my body is now on show for any medical professional who asks to see it.
Hello dependence - you can't drive, work or survive by yourself.
Goodbye Self - who are you when you don't have time to breathe, adjust, process, relax or live.
Hello loss - loss of identity. Loss of health, money, future plans, schedule, independence, proper sleep..
It has been a rushed jumble of professional advice, new information, family and friend opinions followed by life-altering decision making.
It's been a profound change to my life and things will never be the same again.
The road in front of me will be long - chemotherapy, radiation, herceptin, hormone blockers and most likely life-long side effects. But despite this I have the will to push through and fight. Not just for myself, but for all of those people who are behind me. I'm fighting to face my fears and be the best person I can be despite what life throws at me. I'm fighting to make a small difference in a world which can sometimes feel full of darkness and storms.
One day at a time, one foot in front of the other, I'll make it through.
The journey is made so much easier by the community I am lucky to have behind me. I am blessed to be surrounded by loving family, friends and even strangers.
Modern medicine and advances in research make the prognosis of people diagnosed better every day. But we need all the help we can get to fund this, as cancer research isn't cheap! So please get involved, help in which ever way you can and together we can work towards a brighter future for everyone touched by cancer