Kathryn was my second shoot for love I absolutely loved showing her how amazing she is through my lens. Ill let her tell her Breast cancer journey.
2016 was when I first discovered a lump in my left breast.
I said to my partner Colin I think I have a lump in my boob, have you ever felt that before? He said he hadn’t and I should get it checked. I had an ultrasound done and was told it was just 3 small cysts joined together. I left the hospital with two voices in my head one telling me things were not right and the other telling me that I didn’t know, so stop being a drama queen and stop worrying.
6 months later the breast screen bus was in town so I booked in to get my boobs squished and was again told that there was no abnormality detected. We are told that mammography is the best form of detection and I was in the clear.
A couple of months later I saw a new GP and got him to have a look and feel of my boob. He advised me to go and have another ultrasound done.
Not wanting to be a hypochondriac I tucked his referral away in my handbag and got on with life.
It would be another 4 months before I decided to go and get another check done after showing my sister and friends my boob who all said “that’s not normal go and get it looked at again.” I went and had another ultrasound done and the guy that did it was not long out of training and was very thorough. He told me he was not happy to say that it was three cysts joined together and he would get the doctor to have a look at it.
When the doctor came and had a look he said because my breast had changed shape and it appeared to be tethering that I needed to have a core biopsy of the lump in my breast and a fine needle aspiration done of my lymph nodes to confirm a diagnosis. This was done at the Burnie hospital and I remember after it was done one of the nurses gave me a card for the McGrath breast care nurse Tracy Beatty. For me that was an “oh shit” moment.
I was told the results will take a week however two days later when I was at work I got a phone call from my doctor she said “Kathy I need to see you now, you need to come and see me right now “ I think my words were “oh fuck oh fuck it’s bad”.
I called one of my Best friends and asked her to go to the doctors with me.
My doctor advised me that I had stage two invasive breast cancer she said I needed treatment straightaway.
And so began the rollercoaster ride of having Breast cancer.
I guess our first thoughts were okay let’s just do surgery, remove my boob and all will be well. Things weren’t that simple it seemed. My surgeon was concerned that it had spread to my lymph nodes and so a decision was made to do chemotherapy first and then surgery.
One of the hardest things was telling my 10-year-old son that I had breast cancer. I decided to make it a casual chat, so while standing at the sink doing dishes I asked Lincoln “what do you know about cancer buddy” he replied “not much just what he’d seen on television and that sometimes people die from it”. I explained to Lincoln that our bodies are made up of millions of different cells and with cancer sometimes some of them cells go rogue and do the wrong thing. I then went on to explain that I’ve been having some tests and they had come back positive for breast cancer.
To see the look of utter devastation, confusion and fearfulness on his little face broke my heart I quickly wrapped him in my arms and told him that I was going to be fine we would beat this thing. I told him that I would get sick from the chemo lose my hair and probably be grumpy to which he replied “you’re never grumpy mum” I said to him oh Linc now your fibbing!! I told him that I had a wig and asked him if he would like to try it on. He did and this lightened the shit load that I had just dumped on him.
I had 16 rounds of chemotherapy four lots of very heavy duty chemo every two weeks and then 12 rounds of weekly chemo. I made the decision to work whilst having chemo, I worked Monday Tuesday Wednesday was chemo day and back to work Thursday Friday.
My decision to work was based around not only my physical health but my mental health as well. My first round of chemo was on the 29th of March And my last dose on the 16th August. I had surgery to get Lumpy Lefty removed a day after my son’s birthday o the 13/09. 3 weeks later I was back at work.
Not all went smoothly after my surgery, I went on to develop severe cording or axcillary web syndrome down my left arm. The only way I can think to describe this is it is like having a cord down your arm with little hooks all the way down it and as you try to straighten your arm them hooks dig in. Very painful and extremely debilitating when you cannot lift or straighten your arm. I was to have my right breast removed prophylacticly and reconstruction done before the end of the year but as the cording was so bad is was decided that it was more important to regain the full use of my arm before and more surgery would take place.
Over time and with lots of physio the cording was resolved and I went back in for my next surgery on the 13th March 2018. It’s been a long and arduous road to travel at times, but along the way I’ve met some super special people.
In 2019 a good friend of mine Karen Flood saw a post on FB asking for nominations for a photo shoot to be done by the beautiful caring Tegan Murphy and she nominated me. I was over the moon to be able to have some nice post cancer diagnosis done. My hair had finally grown back and I was beginning to feel like me again. Tegan made me feel so at ease and so comfortable in my own skin again. Tegan is a beautiful beautiful soul and I
can’t thank her enough for the opportunity to have them photos taken and to be a part of this calendar it’s been truly amazing.
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Click the link to read more about me, my mission and my photoshoot includes bloopers 😛
Tegan Murphy Boudoir Photographer – Penguin Tasmania