By now you may know that I was diagnosed with breast cancer last month. I don’t plan to use this blog to go into great detail, but like many other things in my life it’s not a secret and I’m happy to talk about it in person. I’m particularly happy to talk about it if it raises awareness. I will keep this blog for the things I’ve been writing about for the past couple of years but the lens through which I see the world is different now and I want to address that rather than pretend nothing has changed. This post is really about breast cancer, not about me.
I got the phrase ‘the club no one wants to join’ from the Breast Cancer Network (BCNA) forums – it’s an expression used often by the many, many hundreds of women interacting and supporting each other both online and in person through BCNA. It’s not an exclusive club, in Australia it affects 1 in 9 women. There are lots of us.
Statistically, breast cancer is more likely in women over 60, but of the 3 other women I know locally who have been through this in the last 2 years, all of us were under 50 when diagnosed, so we are considered to be quite young. Unfortunately, the highest risk factor for developing breast cancer is simply being a woman.
I have to say that being diagnosed during breast cancer awareness month was pretty difficult – both for me and for some of my friends and family. It seemed like everybody and everything was turning pink – somehow it’s different when it’s real, not abstract anymore. However, I’ve already had cause to be grateful for the massive amounts of money that are put into breast cancer research and services so would be happy for every month to be awareness month really!
If you’re a woman and you’re over 40 and you’ve never had a mammogram – please go and do it! It’s the way mine was picked up and I will be forever grateful to my GP for insisting it was time I started regular screening. The details are slightly different depending on which state you live in, but in Australia it’s free and available to everyone – just google it.
As for me, I’ve had my (successful) surgery and am moving on to the next stages of my treatment. My wonderful family and gorgeous friends & colleagues are outdoing themselves and each other to be supportive and helpful, so there are plenty of ‘stop and smell the roses’ moments and many, many things for which I am very grateful.