Just before Mother’s Day last year, Laura felt numb. Her mind was consumed with fear about what her future would bring and whether she would be around to see her two children grow up. She had just been diagnosed with breast cancer, at age 31.
Laura found the lump while conducting a self-examination. Following her diagnosis, she had surgery which included a double mastectomy, breast reconstruction and lymph node biopsy. For the next five weeks she stayed with her parents. As a result of her surgery, Laura had two drains protruding from each side of her body and the risk of infection meant that being around her sons might be too risky to her recovery.
“This was one of the hardest times of my life. Not being able to always see my kids and cuddle them every day was heartbreaking”, Laura says.
After her surgery, Laura finally had some good news. Her lymph node biopsy showed that the cancer hadn’t spread. However, because triple negative breast cancer has a high chance of recurrence she still needed to undergo chemotherapy.
“Triple negative breast cancer can’t be treated the same way as hormone driven cancer, and we know this now because of research. Chemotherapy was awful. I mostly felt tired, and hungry even though food tasted awful. Thankfully I was back at home and was able to go back to some normality with my kids and husband which was a wonderful distraction.”
Laura has now finished her treatment and her surgeon and oncologist are confident she is cancer free. She is looking forward to spending a much happier Mother’s Day with her family this year.
“Being alive is no longer a given. It’s a privilege and one that I will never take for granted. I watched my son walk in to his very first day of school this year, and last year I had no idea if that would be a possibility.”
“The treatment I had put me into early menopause. I get hot flushes, have gained weight and I will never be able to have another child. But I’m here.”
“Continued research will see the end of this disease as we know it, and I can’t wait to be a witness to that momentous day.”