The isolation of youth | PERSONAL STORY

‘You have breast cancer.’ The words you never want to hear, at any age. I was only 27. Sitting next to my boyfriend, I was terrified. Life just stopped. At that moment I knew I didn’t want it to beat me and vowed to fight whatever was thrown at me.

I felt guilty when I broke the news to my mum, dad and grandma. I saw their hearts break and their tears, and knew it was my fault. My mum gave up work to come and stay with me during treatment because I lived alone and couldn’t look after myself.

It was so isolating being diagnosed at such a young age. My friends’ lives all carried on around me. While they worried about bad hair days and the latest trend, I fought to keep my hair with an ice cap during chemotherapy and dealt with weight gain and menopausal side effects. My friends just didn’t understand how I felt. I found myself putting on a smile or a brave face for visitors because if I cried they couldn’t handle it. I had to be strong to help them get through it.

Everyone in the treatment room was so much older, and I longed for support, but just got sympathetic nods and smiles. I was so grateful for all the care and attention from the medical teams.

That was five years ago. I lost some friends along the way, but made some incredible new friends for life. They supported me through the darkest of days and laughed at all the odd things cancer throws your way.

Life changed forever. I am a better person for going through the battle. I am stronger and appreciate the smaller things in life. I smile, listen to the waves and notice life around me. I am now married to my gorgeous husband, we immigrated to Australia and set up a new life. Earlier this year I jumped out of a plane to raise $2,194 for Brave for BCNA.

I don’t know what the future holds, but I live for today. I am happy and healthy and I am here.

Rebecca, VIC

Rebecca

Rebecca at Brave for BCNA

Issue 80
Summer 2017