My name is Anna.
I noticed that I had an annoying sore spot on the inside of my right breast. I tried to rub it to ease the pain and felt a hard lump about the size of a pea, as I was in the middle of my menstrual cycle I thought it was just a build up of fluid. Over the next couple of weeks the lump was extremely tender and increased in size.
I could actually see it under the skin when I lay on my back. My friends encouraged me to see my GP to just get it checked out. My GP sent me off for a mammogram at the local hospital; the result came back as inconclusive. Arrangements were then made for me to go to The Wesley Hospital for further examinations – I was devastated to be told I had breast cancer.
Within a week I had seen a surgeon, a lumpectomy performed, lumphnodes removed and a full body scan was done. Everything happened so fast I didn’t get time to process anything. The surgeon rang me with news the nodes were clear and he got a good clearance around the cancer, it was the relief in his voice that made me aware this was significant. Testing was also done on the lump to find out what sort cancer I had and what course of action was to be taken next. It was determined I was a grade 2, HER2+ and required 8 chemotherapy treatments, and 30 radiation treatments.
It has now been 5 years since I was diagnosed with breast cancer and I find my biggest battle is with my own mind. With each year passing I know I should be feeling confident that I have beat it, however my fearful side plagues me with thoughts of “am I getting closer to getting it back”. I have my mammograms on a yearly basis, most women cringe at the thought of having them, but when you have had breast cancer those yearly visits are absolutely terrifying and mentally exhausting. You go there full of confidence and put on a brave face, determined in thought it’s just the process you have to go through like every other woman, besides you are every other woman now, you beat it, it’s gone, however your emotions get the better of you.
I am a true believer in fate, things happen for a reason; I have never been one to think “why did this happen to me” and I never will. I was coaching a junior softball team at the time and I was determined never to miss a game, I wanted to show them that having cancer was not an end but just a part of life that you had to deal with. I had wonderful support from my family and friends to whom I am forever grateful to.
To all the professionals that have done so much research and the volunteers who give their time and raise money into beating breast cancer, I am a cancer survivor because of you.