Recently Australian Breast Cancer Research was contacted by a lovely lady who wanted to share the inspiring words her granddaughter Macey wrote about her experience of having both her mum and grandma diagnosed with breast cancer at the same time. We were blown away by this incredible and powerful piece of writing, giving a perspective on the effect a breast cancer diagnosis has on the whole family and why research into preventing and treating this heartbreaking disease is so important.
One of the most significant people in my life is my mum Fiona. She is a very loving, kind hearted, caring, confident and strong woman who I admire and look up to very much.
In the year 2012 she was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to have both chemotherapy and radiotherapy. It was a very hard time for our family. To make things worse my grandma, who I am also very close with was also diagnosed with breast cancer exactly five months after my mum was diagnosed.
I remember my first time visiting mum during her chemotherapy and feeling sick. It was such a sad and depressing place to be and to see her like that was heartbreaking. One of the worst days was when she lost her hair and it still makes me upset to think about it.
I remember my mum sitting in the small bathroom of our old house and my dad standing behind her shaving her head. We were all crying, even my brother. Mum handled it better than any of us. My whole family was so relieved and happy when she finished her chemotherapy, but there was still a long way to go before she was cancer free. After six rounds of chemotherapy she had to have three months of radiotherapy every day. The radiotherapy was not as bad as the chemotherapy but she still hated it. Through all of her treatment mum maintained her job and continued to work.
Breast cancer is one of my biggest fears. It terrifies me to think of my mum or grandma getting it again and not making it through a second time. Both my mum and grandma are now fully recovered and healthy.
Mum used to work at a dental surgery, she was employed there as a dental nurse for over 20 years. A couple of years after she had her breast cancer she decided to apply for her dream job as a flight attendant. Ever since I was little I can remember my mum saying she wanted to be a flight attendant like my grandma was when she was young, but never thought it would happen. I was the one who encouraged her to do an application and try for a position. The selection process was very tough and over 500 applied for the position. They selected 20 people and she was in that 20. On her first try she was offered a position with Jetstar and has been flying with them for two years. She absolutely loves her job and I am so proud of her for achieving her lifelong dream at age 46.
My mum and I have always had a close relationship and have always been there for each other and I know she will always support me no matter what. Both my mum and grandma have been very strong through all of this and I think I would be honoured and proud if I displayed that strength of character.
Thank you to the wonderful Macey for sharing her powerful words with us. We are so passionate about supporting research aimed at preventing breast cancer from devastating the lives of families like Macey’s. here.