I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 45, three years after a sea-change, which is how I found myself 1700 kilometres away from my family when I needed them most.
A week after my diagnosis, and one day before a radical mastectomy, my mum Bev arrived on my doorstep. Mum was no stranger to this sort of thing, having done exactly the same 11 years before, after my sister’s breast cancer diagnosis. Mum dropped everything to be with Sonya, who sadly passed away in a very short period of time. This launched Mum into a support role for my brotherin- law, who was left to raise three young children alone. She became a much-loved and integral part of their lives.
Mum had also taken on a similar role when her younger sister battled breast cancer for nearly 10 years, before finally succumbing. A week after my aunt’s passing, Mum lost her mother to pancreatic cancer.
So, when we found out my news we feared the worst. Two years down the track, my treatment has finished and I have picked up where I left off, but in that time Mum has been with me through surgery, chemo, and radiation. She put her busy life on hold, including her active involvement with her community providing meals, babysitting, transport, and other services to people who are sick or in need, and volunteering at a school for teenage mums, looking after their children while they attend class.
Mum doesn’t see what she does as extraordinary; she’d say she’s just doing what anybody else would do, but I know that’s not true. Mum has been a regular reader of The Beacon for many years and she will be reading this – Mum, I know how fantastic you are; now everyone else does too.