I’m Victoria, a 30-year-old French-Australian mother of three-year-old Jimmy, and a FIFO wife to my husband Ross.I work as a Senior Talent Acquisition Partner for a wonderful and supportive organisation and love spending time with my family, going to the beach, going for walks, gardening, and practicing yoga.
In September last year I found a small lump on my left upper breast. I’d had similar ones when breastfeeding my son two years prior so I was not too worried about it, but Ross kept asking me to go for a check, so I did. My GP was not concerned after a physical assessment but provided me with a referral for an ultrasound, which came back inconclusive. As a result, I was sent for a fine needle aspiration to collect tissues for a biopsy.
One week later I received a call from my GP asking me to come in earlier for my appointment to discuss the results. Due to my age, having no history of breast cancer within my family, and the fact that I had experienced these kinds of lumps in my breast in the past I was feeling rather confident going to this appointment. I will never forget the words, or the feeling of blood rushing to my head when I heard “Victoria, please take a seat. I am truly sorry, there really isn’t any easy way to deliver this news to you. Your test came back positive to cancer cells”. My doctor outlined my type of cancer - Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, Triple Negative Grade 3 Breast Cancer - and the course of actions to follow.
Upon hearing these words from my GP I knew my life was about to change but I did not really understand exactly how until it all started. I went from living a great life, to feeling like a science project, going to appointments once a week - or every day some weeks - and meeting with multiple medical practitioners. I was rushed for conservative lumpectomy surgery due to the nature of my cancer and then started chemotherapy, which affected not only my internal health but my external appearance too.
I unfortunately had to stop working as treatment triggered some side effects such as nausea, extreme fatigue, insomnia, and emotional imbalance, making it very difficult for me to continue professional activities. Prior to my diagnosis I really enjoyed wearing makeup and taking care of myself. But sadly, after receiving my first two doses of chemotherapy, my skin broke out and I lost all my hair.
As a result, I started to let myself go. I gradually stopped wearing makeup and lost my confidence and spark. I could not stand my reflection when walking past a mirror as I did not recognise myself anymore.
I had heard positive things about the Look Good Feel Better program from ladies I met, and the Nurse who provided me with information had also received great feedback, so I was very excited to attend a workshop.
The workshop provided me with great insights suited to my changed skin and missing hair and lashes. I really enjoyed the headwear section of the workshop where the facilitator demonstrated various ways of wearing and playing with turbans and scarves. I’d never had to wear any type of headwear prior to losing my hair so I felt like a novice on that subject, but I left the workshop feeling confident, with better knowledge on how and where to source headwear and wigs, as well as how to wear them in a creative way. I was also happily surprised when I received the lovely Confidence Kit filled with quality makeup and skincare, which we used during the workshop and were able to take home. I’ve continued to use the products every day!
After attending the Look Good Feel Better workshop I started wearing makeup again and playing with head turbans. This did not go unnoticed by my friends and family who were happy to see me smiling again, and enjoying playing with colourful scarves and cosmetics.
My cancer diagnosis has truly changed my way of living and seeing the world. I used to live a very active, on-the-go life where months felt like weeks and weeks felt like days. I am now able to live each day fully, appreciate the little things, and be in the moment with my son, husband, family, and friends.
I would 200% recommend the Look Good Feel Better program to anyone going through cancer treatment as it was a wonderful and positive experience. It’s a real highlight in this difficult journey - it boosted my confidence and allowed me to connect with other wonderful participants who were going through a similar experience.
I am forever grateful to this charity, the brands that donated the cosmetics, and the wonderful volunteers who shared their knowledge and skills.
If you are able to make a tax-deductible donation so the charity can continue to give others going through treatment their confidence and spark back, it will mean more than you will ever know.
If you can, please give generously. Thank You.
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