In April 2015, my world just crumbled. I was 66 years of age. After being treated since January for a breast abscess, being told the news I had breast cancer was absolutely devastating.
Having moved from New Zealand in 2012, my support network wasn’t here. My husband and two adult children were here, but they didn’t seem to understand at all why I was so upset. I felt trapped like a rabbit in headlights with nowhere to run.
There were many tears, and many sleepless, fearful, disbelieving nights. I felt I was spiralling downwards, all alone. I tried to tell my family, but they just didn’t understand my feeling of devastation of losing a breast.
I found a wonderful surgeon who agreed to put an implant in immediately, as I knew I would never cope with having nothing there.
I found it really difficult to come to terms with my new body shape. Thank goodness for the Sunshine Coast Breast Cancer Support Facebook group. When I asked if I could meet a woman who had been through what I had, as I wasn’t coping mentally, they found me someone. I so needed to be able to talk to someone who wouldn’t dismiss my feelings.
Oriana and I met over coffee. We talked, well, I mostly talked, and we even cried together. She has been my saviour. At last there was someone who understood what I was going through, and could advise and empathise.
It was so gratifying to know how I was feeling was normal. After meeting Oriana, I felt so much better and calmer within. We now meet regularly and I thank her every time for being so patient and understanding with me and for being so supportive.
It has helped me enormously to speak to her face-to-face. I am still struggling with my image, but I am slowly coming to terms with it all. I just have to learn to love the new me.