Sandy's Story - Getting my mojo back

I’ve had a pretty rough couple of years. In April 2013 after having a Mammogram I received a diagnosis of Stage 2 breast cancer. Within days I was advised that I would need a Mastectomy. My Specialist gave me three weeks to sort out all the things that were going on in my life before my operation. I finished my swing at work, got my Mum into a nursing home, went on my holiday and managed to find a beautiful house in Singleton which would become my oasis during the following harrowing year.

Before surgery on 22 May 2013, I had to have an ultrasound, biopsies, heart check and a heap of other tests. I remember silently crying all the way to The Mount. It wasn’t until my Plastic Surgeon Paul Quinn came in and said I would be ok, that I finally felt that I was going to be able to do this. The operation went well and the surgeons were pretty happy with everything. 

8 July 2013 was my first Chemo. All I’m going to say about Chemo is, beside my hair falling out, getting mouth ulcers, not being able to sleep but constantly feeling exhausted, having stomach cramps and feeling like crap… everything you try and eat tastes disgusting. It’s the worst experience of my life. I was so sick after my first chemo that I lost 6 kgs and only ever managed to put 3 kgs back on. 

I finished my Chemo in October and after a short holiday for some R&R.I started my Radiation treatment. It wasn’t too painful, but having to drive from Singleton to Wembley everyday took its toll on me. I put a message on Facebook asking if anyone would mind giving me a hand with the driving and I was stunned by the amount of friends and family who offered to help and then followed through.

By the end of the Radiation my skin had started to blister and I was tired all the time. I finished treatment in early Feb 2014 and took another break with a friend to rest. Within a couple of days my skin started to heal and I was feeling much better, so I challenged myself and went on a Micro-flight-something that I had never thought of doing before. 

When I came home I hit up HR to get back to work and we arranged that I would start with 9hrs a day with a 2 hour Nanna nap in the middle of the day. I was so excited, it had been almost 11 months since I had worked and it was great to see everyone, knuckle down and get back to normal. Things had changed a bit and my poor old brain took a while to catch up but I felt like I was starting to get my mojo back. 

My beautiful daughter Jasmine had her 18th birthday on Jan 3 and after the year I’d had I was just so happy to be there and feeling well. It was lovely to be watching my kids and I was so proud of the adults they had become. Everything is now going well. I feel like my brain is working properly again and although I still have days that I get quite tired and I’m still in some pain, they are nothing like before.

My final remark is please, please, people get yourselves, sisters, mothers, wives and daughter to check themselves and I hope this terrible disease doesn’t ever touch your lives, because the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do was sit down with my family, partner and kids and tell them that I have breast cancer. Thanks again to all the wonderful, amazing people who have been in my life or have come into my life. I have needed every single one of you.

Sandy, Breast Cancer Care WA client

Sandy is one of over 900 clients a year who receive personalised, free of charge support from Breast Cancer Care WA. This includes emotional care from Breast Care Nurses and Counsellors, Support Groups, financial assistance and much more