Mother of two's amazing support system

My cancer story began last summer when I noticed a strange feeling under my arm. A few months later I noticed my arm was a bit sore and when I lifted it up, I felt a lump, so I went straight to my GP who sent me for a mammogram and ultrasound.

The radiographer knew immediately something was wrong. She called me in and said ‘look you will need a biopsy.’

A core biopsy followed and I received a devastating call from my oncology specialist who said simply: “I am sorry you have cancer”.

As a single mum, my first thoughts were for my two children – how would they cope with what may lie ahead for mum?

 Just six weeks after my initial diagnosis I was facing life-saving surgery to remove my breast. Two months after surgery I began the first of six gruelling rounds of chemotherapy.

Thankfully, I was able to receive support from Cancer Society.

Sheila my Cancer Society nurse was great. She answered all my questions and came and visited me at home and rang to make sure I was OK. It was good to have a friendly face coming to see me.

I was actually more worried about the kids than anything else. They didn’t know what to expect….when it affected the kids it really upset me.

The chemo was hard but Sheila was always there with answers and reassurance. She would say ‘you just carry on you are doing great.’

Sheila was a sounding board and a wealth of experience and knowledge for me. She was able to refer me to services I needed including physiotherapy to help with cording in my arm after her mastectomy.

There were times during Chemo when I felt too tired and unwell to cook – thankfully Cancer Society was able to help by providing home cooked, nutritious meals.

Just three weeks after completing my last round of chemotherapy, I began the first of 14 rounds of Herceptin.

The Herceptin was to mop up any stray cancer cells around my body so even though the thought of more treatment was hard, I preferred to have it… just to know I had done everything I could.

I had radiation therapy at the same time as my Herceptin, which meant driving to the hospital each day which put a big financial strain on the family. Thankfully Cancer Society was able to step in and help with some petrol vouchers.

Cancer Society made the whole process bearable. Sheila was an amazing support and a wealth of knowledge...without her it would have been quite different - I would have just had to rely on myself and not known about all these things that were available to help.

I was really lucky and really blessed that things went as smoothly as they did and I’ve come out the other side and am moving ahead.

Having cancer really makes you evaluate things...yes it’s hard and you have to go through this whole process… but there is so much more that comes out the other side and you look at things so differently and appreciate every day. I am grateful for so many things.