"Breast cancer first entered our lives in 2009. After 12 months of intensive treatment and reconstructive surgery our lives returned to what us women with breast cancer call "new normal". I remember thinking at the time I would never be able to deal with a recurrence and never thought it could happen to me. However, in May 2014, my perfect life changed dramatically when I was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer where it has moved into my lymph nodes and lungs.
Fear took over initially, I lost control but slowly and with lots of support I am starting a journey of self healing, hope, acceptance and understanding. I have sad and mad days, I have irrational and rational moments, sometimes I look back too much instead of forward, some days are dark and I am afraid and I need a hug or two or three but for the most part I am staying positive and will never lose hope.
I have started again chemotherapy and this will continue daily while it is working from here on in. I am still very much alive and with the help and strength of my wonderful husband, Stiks and our beautiful kids, Hugh and Josie, and a couple of dear friends and family members I call my "pink angels" will hope to remain so for a long time.
Life is different now, time is precious, one day at a time. Anger will not be wasted on it as that will only make it stronger. I will not give up, I do not know how to. It will never get my heart, it will never get my soul. My every waking moment has something to do with it, but it is just a name and it does not define me. I am living with it but it will not defeat me. We are keeping life simple, enjoying each beautiful day as it comes. Travelling as much as we can while I have the energy and health to do it. These small goals keep me going, enjoying the sunshine, stars and ocean, spending precious time and making memories with Stiks, Hugh and Josie are my priority.
If I miss anything about my sport, it is the camaraderie of old team mates. But then you realise as you get older, the old cliche 'friends for life' rings no truer than in times of need and support. No truer an example than the upcoming 'Seconds Count Gala Ball' and the overwhelming and humbling support of my teammate, Kim Upton. Words do not express my admiration and gratitude to Kim and her team of "pink angels." Of course, the recipient of proceeds from the event will be the highly respected Menzies Institute and while I feel in my circumstances a cure for breast cancer is a race against time, what is also so important to me is that our precious generations to follow, our daughters, do not have to go through what I and thousands of other women are going through at this time. "Finding a cure" is very real and very critical to me and I believe with that, with vital research funding, a cure for secondary breast cancer is not too far away.
Please take a moment to consider this and I urge you to support the Seconds Count Gala Ball and this cause.
The Menzies Institute for Medical Research was established in 1988 by the University of Tasmania with support from the Menzies Foundation and the Tasmanian Government. The Menzies Institute was primarily established to address health issues facing the Tasmanian community.
"So far we have put the funds towards purchasing breast cancer cell lines and associated laboratory consumables to set up experiments to look at the molecules that we know are important in the spread of cancer cells. My research assistant is currently progressing the laboratory work.
As a result of the receiving such a sizeable donation we have also been able to offer a young bright Tasmanian the opportunity to undertake post-graduate study working on this project. Being able to offer a new project with the laboratory costs already funded is very rare in research so very much appreciated.
Additionally, another student who wishes to be part of our research project in breast cancer, has accepted an offer to work with us in 2016. She is a medical student and will be paid a small bursary to work in her spare time on our breast cancer research program. "
For more information about the Menzies Institute, please visit their website.
Some useful links and resources are below