In November 2017 I was diagnosed with invasive pleomorphic lobular breast cancer. I had neo-adjuvant chemotherapy (FEC-D) a skin-sparing mastectomy and radiotherapy. I then went into medical menopause and took the hormone therapy Tamoxifen for 2 years.
In May 2019 I had a unilateral DIEP flap breast reconstruction which I micro-blogged #100Days DIEP on Instagram. In October 2020 I had phase two DIEP, which was combined with an abdominal hysterectomy and ovary removal (#100DaysDIEP2). Now that I'm in surgical menopause I take an aromatase inhibitor.
Read my #100DaysDIEP posts on Instagram.
I blogged about trying to figure life out after a breast cancer diagnosis under my then Instagram name of 'Unwritten Me'.
Why Unwritten Me? When I was called back for a biopsy after my mammogram in 2017 I immediately assumed that I had breast cancer. While it turned out that I did, I had physically, mentally and emotionally unravelled in the 3 weeks before I got the definitive diagnosis.
It soon became clear that I'd drive myself to distraction if I kept assuming the ‘bad’ when the reality of pathology, scan results, side effects, etc. was still unknown. Inspired by the Natasha Bedingfield song, I decided that until something had actually happened it wasn’t yet part of my story: it was unwritten.
Since my last surgery I've gone on to share my story to help raise awareness of breast reconstruction. In 2022 I launched Rewritten Me, Australia's podcast about reconstruction after mastectom.
Listen to how I went from 'Unwritten Me' to 'Rewritten Me'
in the pre-launch episode.
I would never have wished for it, but some good things have happened because of my cancer diagnosis, like connecting with an amazing community of women online.
As more and more of us are fortunate to live life after a cancer diagnosis (and not just 'survive'), it’s increasingly important that our lived and felt experiences are talked about both within the cancer community and outside of it.
And I'm here for that.