I was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2011. I hadn’t had a mammogram for five years and received a letter to say that I was well over due to have one.
So I organised to have one in South Hedland, but soon after received a phone call from my doctor at the Aboriginal Medical Centre saying I needed more tests because they could see a dark spot on my right breast.
My doctor organised for me to come to Perth and thankfully one of my nieces could come with me for my second mammogram, biopsy and scans. By the end of the day they told me I had breast cancer.
I was devastated and found it very hard to accept and I didn’t know how I was going to tell my family and friends. When I returned to South Hedland and told them, some of them were very upset thinking I was going to die. Although I felt very overwhelmed and scared I knew I had to remain positive for my family and friends.
I had to come to Perth for treatment, away from my family. I started chemo and then radiation. Just before I started my radiation I met with Tania the Indigenous Program Coordinator at Breast Cancer Care WA and she told me about their service and how they could support me.
Having the support from Tania has been so much help. Tania contacted the hospital and sorted out volunteer transport so that I could get in and out of Royal Perth Hospital each day after radiotherapy. She also told me about the cancer support group that is held at Derbarl Yerrigan twice a month and this helped me get out of the house and meet some lovely ladies at the groups that were going through the same thing that I had been going through.
Tania also invited me to a Cancer Australia meeting to tell my breast cancer story and help develop resources for ladies that have been newly diagnosed including brochures for their families so that they all have an understanding of what to expect while going through breast cancer.
Since meeting Tania I have had many supportive telephone calls and she has given me support in whatever I needed at the time. She also put me in contact with breast care nurse Denise, who helped me to understand about my treatment and what to expect.
It was hard for me to adjust to life back in South Hedland when my treatment finished and deal with all that I have been through. Now I come to Perth every three months and have my check-ups and it helps to know that Breast Cancer Care WA have a counselling service that I can access which will help me get stronger and cope with dealing with the changes that I have gone through.
I would like to thank Breast Cancer Care WA for their endless support. You have made it easier for me to deal with my breast cancer journey and I look forward to many more calls in the future with Tania. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
If you are aged over 40, have a free screening mammogram every two years and make breast awareness a part of your daily life. Click here to learn just how easy it is to be breast aware.