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Cancer is Tough but I am Tougher

“My gut instinct told me that my life was about to change – on 29 July 2016 at age 45 I was diagnosed with breast cancer.”

Five women sitting on a couch smiling at the camera

“My gut instinct told me that my life was about to change – on 29 July 2016 at age 45 I was diagnosed with breast cancer.”

One Sunday in mid July 2016, Keri Jensen felt a sharp pain above her left breast. She knew something wasn’t right when the pain returned three days later.

Knowing this pain wasn’t normal, Keri immediately made a doctor’s appointment for the next day.

“I had begun having mammograms regularly at 40-years-old and I wasn’t due for my next one for six months. My doctor sent me for a mammogram and ultrasound, but that wasn’t enough. Knowing something was wrong, I was told that a biopsy was necessary,” Keri explained.

“Having to wait eight days for test results after the biopsy was excruciating. Trying to continue my job as a teacher and remain as normal as possible was tough during the waiting period.”

A loving mother of two teenage boys, Keri received heartbreaking news when she was diagnosed with cancer of the left breast, Stage 1.

This type of cancer is hormone receptive positive which makes up around 80 per cent of all breast cancers and thanks to ongoing research there are effective treatment methods for this type of cancer.

“To this day I’m not sure where my strength came from telling my two sons I had cancer but I always managed to keep it together in front of them during that unbearable time,” Keri explained.

Six days after her diagnosis, Keri underwent a successful lumpectomy in her hometown of Bundaberg Queensland finding out the cancer had not spread to any of her lymph nodes.

Unfortunately, Keri’s oncologist did inform her that her cancer was borderline for chemotherapy, which was a frightening moment for Keri.

“I can honestly say that up until this point I had been a tower of strength and positivity. The thought of chemotherapy not only scared me but broke me for a good five days,” Keri said.

“I only had three days to decide whether or not to have chemotherapy and decided on my 46th birthday to complete four rounds of chemotherapy.”

Keri had wonderful family support during this difficult time, which was her motivation to get through her chemotherapy treatments.

“The decision to undergo chemotherapy for me was about having no regrets and being able to say to my family and close friends I did all I could to be cancer free,” Keri explained.

“Once my chemotherapy ended I was able to enjoy a holiday in South East Asia that was booked before my diagnosis. In January this year I commenced four weeks of intense radiation treatment and I was able to return to teaching full time at the beginning of this year.

“My test results so far are good and I have regular check-ups every three months. Keeping fit and healthy is a priority for me and ensuring that I live a stress free life.”

It is thanks to medical research Keri’s cancer was detected early and she was able to receive effective treatment, saving her life.

“I don’t sweat the big things anymore and I value my life, my family and friends so much more. Cancer sure is tough but I am tougher!”