To be told that you have cancer is a shock to any one. To me, at the age of only 29, it was a big shock and totally unexpected. I had a 10 month old baby girl at home and no family history of breast cancer. I thought only women my mom’s age could get breast cancer. I was wrong. My life changed in an instance. I had to make decisions about what route I wanted to take on the road to recovery and after weeks of specialist appointments, biopsy’s and full body scans, my doctors and I finally came to an agreement. We decided that due to the aggressiveness and size of the tumour, I would have 6months of chemotherapy, followed by a double mastectomy with immediate reconstruction and then a further 5 weeks of radiation.
One of the reasons I decided to do the chemotherapy first and then get a mastectomy was because I just couldn’t face the idea of having a mastectomy and walking around with no breasts for 6 months to a year, before I could get reconstruction. From my surgeon side, he was concerned about the 5cm x 5cm size of the tumour and thought it best to first shrink it down with the chemo and then operate.
Just like most women, one of the first questions I asked before starting chemotherapy was “Will I loose my hair”, the answer was yes. So one morning I woke up, went to a hairdresser and had my hair cut into a pixie style, two weeks later I shaved it all off. I was determined to be in control of at least this one thing, since I could not be in control of so many other things. Cancer was not going to take my hair from me.
I decided early on that I will not have cancer take over my life, I will not stop smiling, and I will come out the other side a winner. That was when the #fightinglikeagirl was born. I took cancer head on. The positivity helped me through the tough times. But I did not do it alone, I had amazing friends that were there whenever I needed them, a husband that picked up the pace at home with the housework and our daughter and I had faith. Faith, that our heavenly Father will give me strength when I needed it most and guide me to the path of healing. This is what kept me going!
As a Christian I believe that God has a plan for our lives and that He wants to use our situations to make a difference. This blog is about my journey and how I conquered cancer. I pray that this will inspire others going through the same thing.
When I was finally finished with chemotherapy, I approached three of my photographer friends and asked them if they will be willing to do a small photo-shoot for me, at this point I was mostly thinking I would love to have some photos of myself, documenting this time in my life.
When all three agreed and the creative juices started flowing this small idea blossomed into something beautiful and I decided that I had to use this to create awareness about breast cancer in young women.
We got the fabulous Katie from Loui Col Designs involved and we were able to use one of her stunning dresses on the day. We had Lizarre from Timeless Beauty come in and do make up for me including drawing on eyebrows where they had fallen out and sticking on fake lashes to the little lashes that was starting to grow out once again. Courtney from Willow Lane Creative did a beautiful flower crown.
For months I was sick on the couch from the chemotherapy and did not like the bold girl with no eyebrows and no eyelashes in the mirror. However, today, I felt like a princess. I am completely over the moon about the amazing pictures and memories from the day. I have always believed that everything in life happens for a reason and even thought we do not understand what the reason is right away, there is a bigger purpose and reason for all our circumstances. This is what fuelled my passion for turning my situation around and using it to help others that might be going through the same thing I did.
You are never to young to have breast cancer. Statistics says that 800 young women will be diagnosed with breast cancer every year in Australia. Only 15% of breast cancers are related to family history. Young women are often diagnosed with larger tumours and more aggressive sub-types of the decease, and needs stronger treatments with more severe side effects. Know your breasts, trust your gut, and check yourself regularly. And Above all stay positive. For those that are going through treatment for breast cancer, keep on fighting like a girl, you are stronger than cancer!