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Seizing Each Day on Borrowed Time

Lee-Anne is seizing each day while living with terminal cancer

Lee Anne terminal, triple negative breast cancer

“I know my kids are worried about me all the time. I feel like I’m a ticking time bomb.”

Adelaide resident Lee-Anne Westgarth knows she is living on borrowed time after being diagnosed with terminal, triple negative breast cancer, but that doesn’t stop her from seizing each day.

Lee-Anne was first diagnosed with Stage 3 triple negative breast cancer in 2013 and underwent painful chemotherapy. At the time she was relieved and happy to receive the good news that her cancer was under control.

Unfortunately, Lee-Anne received more bad news and in May 2017, she learnt the cancer had not only returned, but this time it was terminal. Doctors only gave her one year to live.

“I remember when I was diagnosed again, I had an out of body experience. I thought the doctor was talking to someone behind me. I thought I had at least five years,” Lee-Anne said.

The good news is Lee-Anne has surpassed her doctor’s expectations and continues to lead a fulfilled life. But the reality is, she and her children have to live with the thought of terminal cancer at the back of their minds.

“It was hard for my kids seeing me going through treatment, but they’ve come to terms with it now mostly and have accepted, like me, modern science is doing what it can. Unfortunately, you can’t dwell on it and at the same time, you can’t assume anything in life,” Lee-Anne said.

“Cancer has forced me into retirement, but it’s also given me all this free time. I’ve been working all my life and raising my kids. Now I don’t have the pressure of work and staff meetings and I can do things on my time.

“There are days where I’m dragging my feet but I’m doing okay and that’s great, that’s how I get through.”

Lee-Anne is grateful for her team of doctors and oncologists who have supported her through her journey, including our researchers who continue the fight against breast cancer.

“Research has extended my life way beyond its predicted expiry date and it’s thanks to hardworking researchers who fight for people like me.”

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