18 March 2017 marked three years since I was delivered the news over the telephone “I am sorry to tell you that you have breast cancer” whilst on a school excursion with my son at Sculptures by the Sea in Cottesloe.
Many thoughts ran through my mind following that phone call. I had so many questions and little did I know that they would remain unanswered for quite a while longer. It would be another week before I could see a Breast Surgeon for more information and it was another two months before I saw an Oncologist.
The first place I reached out to seek answers to my questions was Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA). I was put in touch, online initially, with other ladies who had been recently diagnosed. It was reassuring to know I wasn’t alone. Shortly after making contact, I received a large package in the mail from BCNA called “My Journey Kit”. It was a free information pack that helps newly diagnosed people through the shock of diagnosis and helps them make decisions on treatment and care.
Since my initial contact with BCNA, I have tried to give back as much as I can. I have contributed to online discussions with ladies newly diagnosed, I wrote an article entitled Embracing my body, scars and all for BCNA in their magazine, The Beacon and I have supported them in two fundraising luncheons.
As some of you are aware in March I was selected, out of hundreds of applicants, to attend the BCNA National Summit for 2017 on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. Coincidentally on my diagnosis date, 18 March. Must be fate!
The theme for the conference was ‘Making a Difference’. Through workshops and lectures I learnt new skills to raise awareness of breast cancer and the impact that it has on individuals and families and how BCNA can help. I hope to put this knowledge to use in my community in Perth and ultimately make a difference.
Another thing I took away from the Summit was many new friendships. I met some wonderful people, both women and men. It’s the first time the BCNA Summit had two men diagnosed with breast cancer attend as delegates.
Before I attended the Summit I set up a fundraising page for BCNA. Thank you to each and every one of you who donated. Your support helps BCNA to be there for the 48 Australians diagnosed with breast cancer every day.
This blog post wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t share a video montage with you now would it? So, below are a few photos from the Summit. Set to Chrissy Amphlett’s song “I touch myself”. Before Chrissy died from breast cancer she wanted the song to become an anthem for spreading awareness about the importance of touching ourselves for early detection of the disease.
At the end of the video montage is a photo of me celebrating three years cancer free on 18 March 2017 with my girlfriend in Noosa and that my friends is Just Peachey!