“I was lucky enough that my GP felt a small change in my breast that I had not noticed. As a qualified sonographer, as soon as I saw the ultrasound image I knew the lump was malignant.
I was obviously shocked, I never thought it would be me. I have been involved in healthcare and medical imaging for over 25 years and have even diagnosed many cancers during my career. It was a real eye-opener suddenly being on the other side.
I called my husband, Ramsey as soon as the mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy was done to let him know. As it was just a week before Christmas, while I was reassured that the prognosis was good, we decided not to tell family and friends until we knew the next steps.
A few more tests were required to check the actual make-up of the cancer and therefore what the course of treatment would entail. I was upset when I knew I would be having chemotherapy as this was quite unknown to me. However, I received the best of care and felt grateful for such an amazing healthcare system to diagnose the lesion so early and quickly and allow me to get on with treating it.
Since diagnosis, my husband and I have put a few things on hold – from overseas travel to simple dinner’s out. Since treatment has started I am wanting to ensure I stay well and healthy, and I look at how life can fit in with treatment. Now that I am understanding the cycle of my treatment better, I hope it becomes easier to add social aspects back into our routine, for both me and Ramsey.
I wanted to attend the Look Good Feel Better workshop for many reasons. I had heard about this charity some time ago but never had the need for it. It seemed like such a simple but wonderful offering. I was hoping to meet with others going through the same process without having to explain what was going on – almost like a ‘normal’ moment as opposed to reassuring everyone I was OK.
I really wanted to attend as I had no idea what to do with my appearance, especially in my role as a CEO! Up until the age of 47, I have never had to wear a hat or wig, and didn’t really know anything about how to tie a scarf or accessorize. Having always had curly red hair I really didn’t know where to start.
The skincare and make-up component of the workshop was great fun and I learnt a few new tips which have since come in handy, particularly for the appearance of eyebrows. We had a few laughs along the way as we all started to enjoy this rather than worry about how we look. The camaraderie was great and supportive.
The main learning for me was how to choose and style headwear. I never knew there were so many choices, giving the illusion of having hair and volume. Some great tricks were shared, as well as plenty of samples of various hats and wigs for us to try and create new looks with.
The best thing about the workshop was twofold; the camaraderie was great fun amongst those that attended, and the endless support, advice and smiles from the volunteers. This goes a long way in reminding you that you are not alone during this challenge and you are surrounded by a group of amazing people. I regularly catch up with two ladies I met during this workshop as we continue to positively support each other. I was able to leave the workshop with a positive plan as to how I would present myself. This was really important both personally and professionally.
Since attending the workshop, my family and friends have certainly noticed a change in me. I have had comments that I look well and happier – it’s amazing what a little colour can do! These positive comments go a long way to making you feel better, no matter what else you may be going through.
I would certainly recommend the workshop to anyone going through cancer treatment. It is amazing to be in a room of people that understand, even if we are all on a different path. It offers you the chance to ‘let your hair down’, without feeling self-conscious or too vulnerable. The learnings you take home, even if you already know how to do make-up or wear headwear is invaluable, reminding yourself that you are supported, and that you can look and feel good!”