Breast cancer Awareness - Our story

Shannon

Hi this is my story. At 34 I was a hard-working mum of 4. I was so busy working as a nurse in aged care, volunteering in the rural fire brigade, looking after my mum plus all the other things you do as a family. A friend at work who was 52 had just being diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in her left breast. Before she was having her surgery, we were all sitting in the staff room talking about it. The next week I got up for work on the Monday. Dressing for work I noticed my right nipple had a small indentation which looked like someone sliced a pie slice. Tuesday it looked a little bigger. Wednesday I was getting dressed and it looked bigger than the day before. My husband said your nipple is sinking.

At work I grabbed one of my RNS into the med room and asked her to have a look for me. She did and had a feel. She said go get it checked but it’s probably nothing. I called into the Doctors one the way home yet again the DR had a feel but stated she didn’t feel anything but rang for a mammogram and ultrasound for the next day. So Thursday I went for my appointments. The lady doing the mammogram pushed and squished then said to wait a minute. She came back and put the scan on the light and started circling three circles. She then repeated them. Then I went for the ultrasound my stomach lurched as I looked at them and knew what they were. They organised and emergency biopsy for the next day. I watched with my partner as they inserted the needle and felt so much pain ( lumps where on nerves ). I worked all weekend and waited. Monday heard nothing; Tuesday heard nothing on the Wednesday my RN rang to hurry them up. She said I had to go and see the Dr. I went and said to the DR I have ductal carcinoma. She said yes and made an appointment for the Friday with a surgeon. I drove home in shock walked into my bedroom asked my husband to come here. I grabbed him and cried my eyes out. My surgeon asked me if I know what was going to happen next. I told him double mastectomy, lymph node clearance.

Chemotherapy and possibly radiation. He said yes. I know what I have but not once did I feel sorry for myself. People asked to pray for me and I’d say yes. I had the best surgeon, hospital, pink nurse, and oncologist. I also had the most wonderful Dr. my Drs name was Doctor Peter Spitzer. He was the one who told me he would make sure I live. He did. Just after my last chemo round I had my normal vitamin B shot. He asked me how I know that I was going to live. I told him you told me I would. That was on a Friday. On the Monday I was to see him again, but he was sick. Two weeks later he died. Advanced bowel and prostate cancer. I still raised my kids. I had to work nights packing shelves at Woolworths as I had used all my leave from work and Centrelink wouldn’t help me as it wasn’t going to be a permanent disability. I was given a hat to wear at work as I wasn’t ready to wear the bald head yet.

I’m lucky. I’m alive. I’m 45. I now have to grandchildren. Brought a house My only ever question was how two staff at the same time had the same cancer, same surgeon, same oncologist, same everything. Cancer is hard, but the aftermath is hard to. Having a type of PTSD at any time when you have a pain or cough it’s always in the back of your head. A year later I decided to have transflap surgery and contracted MRSA. Every single stitch (internal and external) opened. I’m still here and that’s all I care about.

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