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Parvin’s experience with resilience

Parvin’s mother was her best friend. Her parents had moved to Australia as refugees from Iran when she was young, and she followed a few years later. They spent every day together — their favourite way to spend time was on cruise ship holidays. When her mother was diagnosed with breast and brain cancer in January 2017, Parvin was devastated. During her palliative care stint in Bethesda Hospital, Parvin never left her side, sleeping with her in her room and caring for her until she passed away a month later after celebrating Eid in the hospital with her whole family.

The doctor told me to go and get it checked, but I could not leave my mother. After the funeral I had an ultrasound and a biopsy.

Parvin

Parvin did indeed have breast cancer, and underwent surgery to remove 17 lymph nodes and a five-and-a-half centimetre tumour.

I didn’t have time to grieve properly for my mum. I miss her so much. I lost her. I spent every day with her. After she died it felt like there was the earth, then me and then the sky, my mum. Once they released me from hospital there was nobody to talk to. I said I needed to talk to somebody and they gave me the brochure of Breast Cancer Care WA. I was so happy to receive this. At Breast Cancer Care WA I can talk so freely. I am relaxed. I feel safe. It’s just reality – I couldn’t talk to my family about this grief and my cancer.

Parvin 

Parvin attended the Early Breast Cancer Support Group in Midland, and a Resilience Workshop in Cottesloe. She has seen our counsellor Katie many times. Parvin describes what she has learned about resilience in her workshop and through her support group. “Some times are good. Some times are bad. But I must try to manage everything in my life. Since last year, not just my body changed, but my mind has been in a cage. Now, because of these skills, I am free of this cage! I have received so much help physically and mentally.

When I first heard the word resilience, I didn’t know what it meant. I listened. I listened. Then, in the middle of the workshop, I understood. I get it. They asked me to think about two people in my life who are resilient. My two people are helpful and caring. My mother stand up for herself every time. My son, a Lieutenant Engineer in the Navy, shows me how to care. His big boss told him to come over and look after me when I had chemo. When I was in the hospital he stayed with me from morning until the afternoon. He cooked for me and took me shopping. And later he came over for another month and did all of his meetings on the internet. Our lives are not easy, but I now know how to be strong.” “Breast Cancer Care WA makes me feel beautiful, because I feel completely safe. Because now I have so much support. I could not have gotten this anywhere else. Fortunately, I have you.

Parvin 

At Breast Cancer Care WA I can talk so freely. I am relaxed. I feel safe. It’s just reality – I couldn’t talk to my family about this grief and my cancer.

Parvin