Caboolture has a Cancer Support Group for both Men and Women led by Margaret McKeand (watch video above).
NEW BEGINNINGS (Below – Speech transcript and notes – See speech video at the end.)
Thank you for giving me this opportunity today to speak to you about my personal journey through breast cancer and how my family and I turned it into a positive.
Cancer has played a big part in my life, some parts were good and some parts were bad.
My story starts right back when my husband and I had our daughter. Shannon, she was 2 years and 3 months old when Steve was diagnosed with lymphoma Cancer Non Hodsign, through his treatment of chemo and radiation he became sterile. We went through ivf for 2 years I fell pregnant once but the baby died at 13 weeks and my body would not release it. He was taken out at 20 weeks. As you can imagine we were very devastated.
13 years later my father past away from ophsofegest cancer, dad said he was sad that we could not have any more children, 3 months later I thought I was going through menopause, I was 43 years old and a friend told me to do a pregnancy test, I went and did the test and I came out to my husband and showed him the result, he put the biggest grin on his face and he was so happy. We did all the test to make sure the baby was healthy, 8 months later I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy which we name after my father. My husband was so happy that his body has rebuilt itself.
After I finished breast feeding our son I had my first mammogram done. When our son was three years and two months old I had another mammogram done, I had a sore point at the top of my left breast the Nambour hospital breast clinic called me up and asked to come for some more testing as they found my left breast was thick inside. They did another mammogram and a physical test but they could not find anything until they did the ultra sound and where the sore point was above the left breast, they took the biopsy. It came back positive that I had a Loblyer carcinoma. There was no lumps there, it was an aggressive cancer.
I went to the surgeon at Caboolture hospital and asked to have both my breast removed as I had investigated the cancer and found out it was prone to be in both sides. After seeing my mother go through a double mastectomy two year earlier I was not afraid about having both my breast off. The surgeon looked at my husband and asked him if he was ok about removing both my breasts and Steve said yes whatever she wants is fine. I had the op and two weeks later I got the results, the left hand breast had 2 areas of cancer and I had all the lymph nodes removed from under my left arm and in my right breast they also found more cancer, I was so lucky making the decision to take both breasts off. I properly wouldn’t be here today if I didn’t make that decision. I am so comfortable with my new look and I feel FREE.
Before I went through chemo my hair dresser Tracey from Caboolture Cuts and Curls was gradually cutting my hair short so it was an easier transition and wouldn’t be such a shock to the system when I lost my hair. The day before I was due to have my first treatment of chemo my daughter and a friend shaved my hair off and we made a game out of it, which in turn made it easier for my children to accept that I was going to lose my hair. OMG some of the hairstyles I got that day was hilarious, but I learnt to love having a bald head. I was determined not to give up work, I worked fulltime for Woolworths through all the chemo and I stayed so positive through it all as well.
Just after finishing chemo the Cancer Council asked me to undergo a study to help determine the differences between Rural and city treatment. I had medical test and blood test every six months for two years. They have been fantastic with information from the tests and support.
My beautiful daughter was in grade 11 when all this happened, she was having trouble some time dealing with it, especially since one of her school assignments at the time was to write and obituary, it was just something she couldn’t do in the circumstances then. One day she came out to me and gave me a picture she drew. It was of a beautiful butterfly with the breast cancer symbol in it, butterflies were my favourite thing at that stage because they are a symbol of NEW BEGINNINGS. Shannon put it on face book and people loved the story.
This is her story:
This is the tattoo that I designed that I’m going to get done one day. It will be one that means a lot to me because it represents my beautiful mother and grandmother and their fight against breast cancer. I love them both
And my story is,
A butterfly starts its life as a caterpillar, then it goes into a crysil which is when you go through cancer and after you finish your treatment you break out of the crysil as a beautiful butterfly and a NEW BEGINNINGS of life.
I had a lot of people asking to put the symbol on to shirts and hats so I approached the local Struddies store and we now have polo shirts, caps, stubbies coolers, pens, t/shirts, coasters, and business shirts. Shannon also set up a web site www.newbeinnigs-online.com which tells my story and shows the merchandise, and all profit that is made is donated to breast cancer foundations. There is a mine at Darwin which has purchased 97 men’s pink polo shirt with the NEW BEGINNINGS butterfly symbol on the front of the shirt and on the back of the shirt it reads I AM TOUGH ENOUGH TO WEAR PINK and they have sent me photos of them wearing them. Our local members of parliament Darren Grimwade and Wyatt Roy and Coca-Cola all support the NEW BEGINNINGS in the PINK WEEK.
In January this year I had to undergo a hysterectomy due to some of the side effects from medications due to the breast cancer. I got my results last Thursday. They found two fibrous growths that were behind on the back wall of my uterus. I am cancer free now and so over the moon. Since I have been recovering from the op there is so many butterflies flying around the house and I have started walking for exercise and the butterflies fly around me all through my walking track. I feel so blessed.
Thanks to the support from Woolworths. Two years ago my store that I work at Woolworths Caboolture South allowed me to hold a pink week in October, we raised $2676 in that week and last year in our pink week in October, and the girl’s night in on the Saturday night we raised $3987.50 in 5 Days from 5 stores. And this year the area manager wants 9 stores to fund raise in the NEW BEGINNINGS pink week.
Thanks to the Michelle at the Commonwealth bank Caboolture for helping me count the donated money. Also thank you to my family and friend who have been a great support to me and NEW BEGINNINGS.
Thank you for your time.