My long-distance lifeline | PERSONAL STORY

I was diagnosed with breast cancer at 37. That 7 cm lump changed my 2016, often for the worse, but in many ways, for the better.

At the time, my family life was chaotic, work was stressful and I struggled where my priorities should be focused. If this wasn’t enough, along came cancer to test my strength and push me to the edge.

But, this story shouldn’t be about me. It is about another amazingly strong woman, a nurse and a breast cancer survivor herself, who gave me love and support while I went ‘down the rabbit hole’ that was cancer treatment.

Beth is my husband’s auntie. I hadn’t had a lot of contact with her before my diagnosis because she lives interstate. As soon as she heard, she reached out to me.

Beth was with me from day one of my diagnosis, despite living over 2,000 km away in Hobart. She called me, listened to me through my tears, understood my fears and helped me make sense of all the information I was being bombarded with. She even shaved her head prior to us catching up after I started chemo!

Beth was more than just someone to talk to who understood cancer – she understood me, and how cancer would inevitably change me.

Every day I received a beautiful text message from Beth – a thoughtful quote and message.

I received weekly cards of support and a care package of gifts at each milestone. These thoughtful gestures got me through, lifted my spirits and kept me fighting when all energy seemed lost.

If this was not enough, at the end of my treatment, Beth sent me a 2016 diary – each day filled with every message she had sent me, as well as a photobook of pictures I had sent her during my year.

Beth taught me that kindness and love means the most in my life – she has helped make me a better person for my family and loved ones.

Jessica, QLD

Jessica (left) and Beth

Jessica (left) and Beth

Issue 78
Autumn 2017