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Upfront About Breast Cancer

Episode 16: Young women and triple negative breast cancer

Every day, two young women are told they have breast cancer. Dimity Paul was 31 when she received her diagnosis. She joins host Kellie Curtain to talk candidly about triple negative breast cancer, going through the breast cancer journey with her mother and likens her recovery to a second bout of puberty.


Upfront About Breast Cancer is a production of Breast Cancer Network Australia. Our theme music is by the late Tara Simmons, and this episode is proudly brought to you by Sussan.


Kellie Curtain [00:00:04] Let's be upfront about being a young woman with breast cancer. Every day, two women aged between 20 and 39 will be diagnosed with breast cancer. The issues facing younger women diagnosed can be significantly different to the issues affecting older women. They're faced with big questions about fertility, career, relationships and finances. Today, we're joined by Dimity Paul, who was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 31. Welcome, Dimity. 

Dimity Paul [00:00:31] Hi. Thanks for having me. 

Kellie Curtain [00:00:33] Young and not only young at one you had known that you had the BRCA gene mutation long before that. 

Dimity Paul [00:00:41] Yes. I found out when I was 21. My mother had breast cancer three times when I was growing up. So I remember the years I was at school, not how old I was, but it was grade two, grade four, year nine. And there was a very different experience of being a kid with a parent with cancer. When you're younger, you did feel a little bit less connected. But when I was in year nine, I sat next to her during the chemos. I remember being at Box Hill Hospital and holding the vomit bucket for her because I wanted to be there. And I just had that thing where you want to look after your parent. 

Kellie Curtain [00:01:16] That's a big thing for, what, a 15-year-old? 

Dimity Paul [00:01:18] Yeah. But I guess, I don't know where, I guess my parents had always been quite sick when I was growing up. So medical staff, I was pretty used to. I had a sister who was a midwife and bought home water birthing videos when I was 12. So I kind of, you know, not desensitized, but I was cool with medical stuff. 

Kellie Curtain [00:01:35] But clearly, you got on the front foot and decided to be tested. 

Dimity Paul [00:01:38] Yeah. And I think it was about taking control. So obviously, we didn't really know about BRCA in the '90s when my mum went through most of her cancers. And I'm not a control freak, but I like to plan. I'm very career-driven and I wanted to know what I needed to do to either prevent or prepare or make sure I could do everything I could do to put myself in the best setting health-wise. 

Kellie Curtain [00:02:04] Okay. So once you knew that you had the gene mutation, you started having yearly MRIs?

Dimity Paul [00:02:09] Not straight away. So the interesting thing is they told you when you were 21, all the support materials then were pretty much all about women in their 40s and 50s with breast cancer. And I think we've had a lot of change since then. And they told me we couldn't really do anything till you're 27. So I had this big lump of info dumped to me at 21 with the best information of, maybe, 'have you thought about having kids?' I had a boyfriend at the time, and look, let's just say he didn't deal with the information very well as most 20-year-old boys don't. Funnily enough, we're not together anymore. So, it was not, that was not a time to be having, are you having children? Maybe you should have your breasts removed and all that kind of things. That was big info, with not much to be able to deal with. So weirdly, being the control freak who wanted to know at all, I found it out, but then parked it until I knew I had to get my testing started, and then I re-engaged back when I was 27. 

Kellie Curtain [00:03:05] Okay, so that's when you started the yearly MRIs? 

Dimity Paul [00:03:08] Correct. 

Kellie Curtain [00:03:09] And it was at the age of 31 that they found the tiniest cancer. 

Dimity Paul [00:03:16] Itsy bitsy. So the year before I'd had a PASH (benign breast lesion) come up, which is an irregularity, but not cancerous. And I'd had a little copper clip put in that one spot. So when I went back for my MRI at 31, and it came back with an abnormality, I didn't think twice about it because the last biopsy I had came up clear. So I was pretty chill, I was pretty cool. And so I went back for my test results. And it's never a good sign when they ask, have you got anyone with you? So,

Kellie Curtain [00:03:46] Bad news was coming. 

Dimity Paul [00:03:48] Yeah, bad news was coming, but I still hadn't kind of twigged. But then, you know, when you got told, I sort of went ... you're almost gobsmacked. 

Kellie Curtain [00:03:57] So you still, even though you thought you were planned and mentally prepared because it had been in your family ...

Dimity Paul [00:04:03] Yeah. 

Kellie Curtain [00:04:04] And you'd been tested. Like you said, you parked it. 

Dimity Paul [00:04:07] Yeah. 

Kellie Curtain [00:04:08] When it actually becomes your reality, it was still a shock. 

Dimity Paul [00:04:11] Yeah. I was just like, okay, this is, this is a bit shit, actually. And I remember ticking over in my head. I, I just had quite an awful experience in a workplace which it involved me losing my job. And I just sort of got to the point about 18 months later where I felt like I'd got my life back together. And I was like, oh, you gotta be kidding me. Of course, it's happening now. Just when I feel like I've pulled it back together. So I remember going, okay, right, what? What what is it? What does it mean? And then all the, the words, the medical words like grade three and, you know, triple negative and all these things that you don't know what any of it means is given to you. And I'm pretty sure they explain it to you, but you only hear so much at that point. 

Kellie Curtain [00:04:56] Everything becomes a blur. 

Dimity Paul [00:04:58] Yes. 

Kellie Curtain [00:04:59] And particularly, as we know in young women, it's triple negative that they, they usually get, which is very aggressive. 

Dimity Paul [00:05:05] Yeah. It was less than a centimeter. 

Kellie Curtain [00:05:07] But it was Stage 3. 

Dimity Paul [00:05:10] Yeah. And we found out later that it had also spread to a node as well. But we can talk all about sentinel node biopsies later if you want. 

Kellie Curtain [00:05:19] So the immediate course of action then was to firstly get your head around it. And then what action did you take? 

Dimity Paul [00:05:26] Well again, it was a bit weird. You're in shock. My first comment was, but I have a holiday planned next week. And so, weirdly, they went, that's fine, go on your holiday, deal with the news and come back. So I did that. But I spent most of the time on the holiday to fertility people ringing me and doctors and my GP getting a letter and finding out and calling me. And then we came back from that holiday. And then it was the week of appointments. I think we were in at Peter Mac or at the Women's every day, all day, from the Monday to the Thursday when I had my first surgery. 

Kellie Curtain [00:06:02] Okay, so a double mastectomy? 

Dimity Paul [00:06:04] No, not straight away. So the first thing I had was a lumpectomy and a sentinel node biopsy. So I always laugh about the central node biopsy because nothing can really quite prepare you for the pain of the sentinel node biopsy. And I don't mean that in kind of like a scary way because it's certainly not by any means the scariest thing you face, but it's probably the most underrated, or less, less talked about procedure. They literally, you know, stick a needle in your nipple and then pop you in and out of a CT scan. And I remember thinking, hello? 

Kellie Curtain [00:06:42] No one talks about that. 

Dimity Paul [00:06:44] (Laughs) Yeah. And I remember my surgeon, God bless her, who was lovely, but was very surgeon-y, said: 'yeah, I hear they're quite painful', and then kept wheeling me on. I was like, yeah, yeah, it was, actually. Yeah, thanks for that. So that was the first step. I, when I was speaking to them in that whirlwind week because I'd known about my gene risk and I'd got this cancer, I was like, I want to go straight to double mastectomy, just take them off. But because they weren't sure if it was spread, if it had spread and they weren't sure if I was going to have chemo, they didn't want to do the double mastectomy straight away because you've got to heal before you start chemo. And so they wanted to keep that window open to start chemo and have time to do fertility treatment, if that was what I needed to do. 

Kellie Curtain [00:07:27] So that's one of the major issues that face young women with breast cancer is fertility. Were you even aware that that was going to be something that you would need to consider, or are you glad that you were provided the information? 

Dimity Paul [00:07:39] I think you'd probably get to it at a later stage. I think you’re sort of thinking about all the survival things initially. So at Peter Mac, again, I cannot speak more highly for them and the nurses and I had my familial cancer nurse as well, who I'd known for 10 years, helping me through that initial process and my breast cancer nurse. And they just organised all of that. So we're sending you across to the Women's and you're going to have a meeting about, you know, options if you do have chemo just to get the ball rolling. But you may not need chemo, so you may not need it. So all of that was done. But, you know, I've heard stories about friends who have friends in regional areas who get told fertility options aren't there. So I really think there's a massive split between country and city or cancer specialist hospital or perhaps general hospital in what treatments are provided and what information is provided. 

Kellie Curtain [00:08:33] So in your case, you were well-informed, and you were able to take advantage of the fertility treatment and have that peace of mind regardless of whether you're going to end up having chemo or not. That was one box ticked. 

Dimity Paul [00:08:46] So it was sort of getting the information we were ready to go if we needed to make that. It's good getting information in little bits because there's so much information flying around at this time. 

Kellie Curtain [00:08:55] Okay, so fertility was addressed and then. So you've had chemo. 

Dimity Paul [00:09:02] Yes. So we got the results back from the sentinal node biopsy, which said it had spread. And at that point, then you toddle off and go do your fertility treatment. You've got normally about a two-week window. And then I started chemo. And again, my amazing familial cancer nurse, Mary, who has this gorgeous Irish accent that I won't try to try to do today. But she introduced the idea of scalp cooling to me as well for my treatment. So, again, I felt like I had people who were thinking about how I would best deal with the treatment. Hadn't heard of scalp cooling. And, you know, her suggestion was it's painful, but stick with it, it'll be worth it. 

Kellie Curtain [00:09:44] And was she right? 

Dimity Paul [00:09:45] She was absolutely right. It is so painful. But I had a very bad reaction to maxalon in my first chemo session. And they gave me half a lorazepam, which is a wonder drug for pain and anxiety. So I had a half a lorazepam before each of my chemo sessions, just before my scalp cooling went on. And I kind of just sat in a bit of a stupor for my chemo treatment. So they weren't pleasant, but they were doable . 

Kellie Curtain [00:10:18] And career is another big thing for young women with breast cancer. You were actually able to keep working? 

Dimity Paul [00:10:25] Yes. So I thought I wouldn't be because you think you can't. And certainly my mum didn't. But the kind of chemo she had was the kind of ‘we tried to kill you and build you back up’ kind of chemo. So it's very different. Chemo is nothing like it used to be. So I had in my head I'd have to quit my job. But I remember calling my boss because I was travelling to Adelaide and Canberra. I was working for a politician at the time. And I remember calling him going 'this has happened, I'm so sorry, I think I'm going to have to quit my job'. And he said, absolutely not. And he went and made some calls. And I mean, this is the nice part about politics that a lot of people don't see behind the scenes. But he went and called his opposite number and it all got sorted. My home base got changed to Melbourne so I could have my treatment. And when I was well enough, I could still travel to Canberra for sitting weeks. 

Kellie Curtain [00:11:11] So you were really well supported in the workplace. 

Dimity Paul [00:11:14] Amazing. Incredibly well supported. 

Kellie Curtain [00:11:17] What are some of the side effects that you, made it a little bit tough? 

Dimity Paul [00:11:22] I think. Yeah. So, I mean, the two different types of chemo I had, had different side effects. And the obvious side effects is even though you do scalp cooling, you do lose your hair. But I this is before headscarves were cool, so I'd like to say that, you know, all those women with the headscarves. Thank you, everyone. Because when you have a big, bald patch from scalp cooling, you still kind of don't want to walk around like that. So it was all like headscarves, big earrings, big lippy, drawn-on eyebrows. So that's the obvious physical one that people can see. But the ones that people can't see often are the hot flushes because you go into menopause during it. And I was on zoladex as well, which is another fertility preserver option. And you feel nauseous. Obviously, you eat random foods. I was obsessed with Jarlsberg cheese and bread. Don't know why. It just felt good. And juice. Loved juice. Couldn't drink coffee, couldn't drink alcohol. Didn't want a bar of any of that. No seafood, no chilli. But then there was the nausea and the fatigue. And the fatigue was like this deep fog. I remember walking into work one day with my eyes closed, just going, that's fine. This is fine. And as always, you're floating on this cloud of thick fog. And that was the bit that probably people couldn't really see. 

Kellie Curtain [00:12:50] So in hindsight, do you think maybe you pushed yourself too hard through the chemo or did it actually, did it give you a reason to keep going? And what would your suggestions with hindsight be for others how to maybe manage or combine the two? 

Dimity Paul [00:13:08] I think for me it was the best option. So it gave me a distraction. I think if I had sat at home and been sick, I would have ended up being a depressed mess. Whereas some people I've met, they're like, thank goodness I didn't have to work. If I'd had to work, it would have been awful. So I think for everyone, it's so different. And I think also I had the experience from that previous job where I had lost everything. And having lost the job was probably the worst part of that experience and not having a purpose. So keeping that purpose for me, I knew with my mental health was the best way to manage. So in hindsight, no, I probably wouldn't have changed it. Maybe I would have taken a few more days off here and there. But I actually think, you know, it made cancer not the worst thing in the world. It made it doable. 

Kellie Curtain [00:14:04] You talked about the stress of losing a job. What do you think? I mean, cancer, whichever way you look at it, it is stressful. Is it about taking control? You seem to have taken control of this situation. Is it about really sort of focusing or putting a mindset to how you're going to take on the process? 

Dimity Paul [00:14:26] I think it's about focusing on the things that you can control. So there are things that you can't control in life and other things you can. And if you're feeling like everything is out of control, there's no point in worrying about the things that you can't control. So I couldn't really control the fact that I had cancer or needed treatment. I could control the way I engaged in that treatment, i.e. scalp cooling or the zoladex to help protect your ovaries and all those sorts of things. I could control how I manage my nausea with different drugs or eating at different times. I could control my fatigue through things like exercise and the big thing that I could control was what my day looked like. And so controlling what my day looked like was probably the best thing I could do for me to hold onto something through that process. 

Kellie Curtain [00:15:19] With you being at the, certainly, the younger end, of women diagnosed with breast cancer, what do you think is the really big difference between a young woman's diagnosis and someone of an older age?

Dimity Paul [00:15:34] I guess the main thing I can probably can compare to is my mum and seeing that. But, speaking to other women that you kind of do meet throughout the corridors of hospitals and chemo chairs and that kind of thing. I think there's a big difference. It's not even just young and older. It's perhaps people prior to children and post children. I think you have a very different relationship with your body after you've had kids, I think. And also then that fertility piece is probably a pretty pivotal part in that. I feel for the ... the positive of having triple negative breast cancer is you don't have to go on those treatments which turn all your hormones off for five years. So if you do have a hormone-driven cancer, you sit in menopause for five years as well. Like that must be so hard for those women. 

Kellie Curtain [00:16:23] It's the first time I've heard someone put a positive spin on triple negative breast cancer. 

Dimity Paul [00:16:27] No, well, I'm not having hot flushes at the moment, so let me tell you there are positives with it, with that sort of diagnosis. So, you know, you kind of, I just think it depends on the person. I think it depends on where they're at in their life. It depends on if he didn't have a partner. I had a husband, a loving husband. I was in a great relationship in that sense. So if you didn't have a partner, that's a lot scarier. Fertility than is an even bigger question and how that all works. So, you know, maybe if I was 21. Gosh, that must be so hard. And I feel like at 31, I knew a bit more who I was. So I think for me, yes, it was young. I would have much rather have had my preventative surgery beforehand and not had it. But, you know, if it was going to happen, it happened at a time after I had been through a crisis and got through it. So I knew that I could do it. I had a partner and a really loving family and friendship group and workplace. So, you know. I could have been 41 and had none of that and it could've been a whole heap harder. 

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Kellie Curtain [00:17:44] So, you did have the mastectomy. Being that you were young and regardless of you being in a solid relationship, it's still a major part of your body to lose, particularly A, being young and B, as you were saying, your relationship is different to possibly women who have had children. How did you feel about losing your breasts? 

Dimity Paul [00:18:08] Well, I was very adamant at the beginning to try and keep my nipples. So these are the weird things that you get obsessed with. And I had had a quite a fuller chest. Now I have what I think are tiny little boobs. They're not that small, but they're a lot smaller than they were. So, you know, breasts were part of my identity. I'd always had big boobs. So, you know, big boob ladies were kind of a thing. You know, you're kind of like high five each other when you find a good strapless bra or a dress that you can wear. You know, we're a little group and we know each other and there's a sisterhood of us. So there was an element of that. Of having an identity, of being a big breasted woman. And there was the identity of, having seen early mastectomies without the nipples. My mum chose not to have a reconstruction. So I'd say well I know what it looks like without one. So I'd kind of seen it all. And I thought, look, the rolled gold, if I can keep my nipples, that'd be great. But then, of course, when you've got big boobs, if you're having a reconstruction, they don't make them that big because no one wants really big, big fake boobs. 

Kellie Curtain [00:19:10] So you couldn't get the size that you had, or you didn't want the size that you had?

Dimity Paul [00:19:14] I think it was a bit hard to do the size that I had and I kind of was quite happy with going a bit smaller to be honest. 

Kellie Curtain [00:19:18] Go on. Tell us what size? 

Dimity Paul [00:19:20] I was about a 10G. And now I'm about a 12C. Yeah. It's kind of perfect. I'm not going to lie. My boobs are amazing now. It's not the worst thing that happened for me, the mastectomy. I have perky boobs that I don't need to wear underwire with anymore. 

Kellie Curtain [00:19:42] Were they implants or was it tissue based? 

Dimity Paul [00:19:43] Implants. So, the best day. The plastic surgeons are a bit brutal. So they've told me my boobs are too saggy to have a nipple, keep my nipples unless I had a breast lift. I said, well, that's what we're doing then. And they went, oh, okay. So that was a bit of a kick in the guts. But then they said, oh, you don't have enough body fat to have a reconstruction. And I'm like, yay! Best news ever. So you can, you have a love-hate relationship with your plastic surgeons. So I was able to have a breast lift when I had the lump taken out. That healed. Had the chemo, got over the chemo, then had the mastectomy. Was able to keep my nipples. And what they do first is put the spacer in. So that's quite funny. You come out of your surgery with what my husband and I affectionately nicknamed my breast as the shrivelled footballs. Because that's what they look like before they start being pumped up. So it was kind of hilarious seeing those. I was like, oh, well, that's a bit different. And then they slowly pump them up. So you go in and get saline put into them - injected. Not scary, it doesn't hurt. And every time you just see them grow. (laughs) And it was, you know, you kind of coming out of having had chemo, you know, all your hair is growing back and your boobs are growing again. It's sort of like going through puberty in your 30s. It's quite funny. And then you kind of get to a point where you're like, oh, I kind of like this size, let me sit with these for a bit. And they were hard as. They were like rocks. And I remember spooning my husband in bed. And he's like, 'honey, I love you, but do you mind backing off a little bit?' Cause there's kind of these two rocks, right in his back. So I had those for a year, prior to having them swapped out for the implants, which is what I have now. And look, they're not boobs. They're not the same. But these are a lot softer. I can sleep on my stomach again, because I'm a stomach sleeper, which is great. And my husband doesn't ask me to back off when I'm hugging him, so that's pretty good. 

Kellie Curtain [00:21:40] Was there a grieving period, though, for those breasts?

Dimity Paul [00:21:45] I think because I'd had the cancer, I was happy for them to go. I think prior to the cancer, it would have been harder. I actually think there's something that changes when, you're like, 'you're trying to kill me, bitches, you can go'. 

Kellie Curtain [00:21:58] There's t-shirts about that sort of thing. My boobs tried to kill me. 

Dimity Paul [00:22:00] Exactly. And I also found out that I had some precancerous tissue in the same breast where I'd already had this cancer. So I was like, good decision. So, I mean, the things that I grieved initially was losing strength. I'd been quite fit. So I couldn't lift things. And I still am not as strong as I used to be. I was told I might not be able to swim again, but I remember the first swim. I went back and I swam okay and did breaststroke. And it's, it's true, you don't need breasts to do breaststroke. I've proved that. But you know being able to do all those things, there's a lot of firsts that you have. So, you know, you grieve things, but you get back there and it's just slow. You've got to be patient. I do lots of Pilates. 

Kellie Curtain [00:22:40] So obviously, exercise has helped you both mentally and physically?

Dimity Paul [00:22:45] Huge. Yeah, Pilates. And this is the thing. This is, again, that gap that I was talking about, that gap with fertility information between different hospitals. I think there's also a gap there. I was lucky enough to keep working so I could afford those ancillary services such as massage or, or Pilates or physio, which I did a lot of. I haven't had lymphodoema. I had all my nodes removed. So I've been lucky. No lymphodoema. And I kind of put that down to getting straight onto it with those things. And I feel it's really bloody unfair that different women get different health outcomes depending on how much money they're earning or if they can't earn money or those services aren't where you live. And so that's kind of ... I feel lucky. But I feel angry for the women who don't have what I had because it's just so unfair. 

Kellie Curtain [00:23:36] And it can make such a big difference to the outcome. 

Dimity Paul [00:23:40] Huge. Absolutely. Absolutely. 

Kellie Curtain [00:23:42] With BCNA how has the information that's both online and on our Helpline, what have you found useful? 

Dimity Paul [00:23:55] One of the things that I found very useful initially was there was a fact sheet on how to talk to people about having cancer or having breast cancer. I'm pretty open. So, you know, I've just talked about my nipples on a podcast. So I'm quite open. But not everyone is as cool with talking about that stuff. And it actually gave me some really good frameworks to better speak to people. And normally when I am speaking to people as well, I often go 'would you like me to give you some information or not?' But like, I kind of just check in with people, because for a lot of people, cancer is the scariest word in the world. And it wasn't for me. So I was so open and so embracing of the whole thing. But you don't want to trigger other people. That's not really my job. And then also then deal with their emotions, because, you know, the people who cry when you tell them you have cancer, it's like it's going to be okay. I'm going to be fine. It's like I feel like this should be the other way around. But that was helpful, I think, in particular for me. 

Kellie Curtain [00:25:00] So you're now 32?

Dimity Paul [00:25:06] 33.

Kellie Curtain [00:25:07] 33? 

Dimity Paul [00:25:07] Yeah. Sorry. 

Kellie Curtain [00:25:09] Old. So how is life for you now? 

Dimity Paul [00:25:13] Pretty good. I, I work in stakeholder relations. I'm not working in politics anymore. But my new workplace has been just as supportive. I met my new boss when I was still having chemo and he still was keen to interview me for a job. I had my interview two weeks after my double mastectomy. I may have been a little high on painkillers, but apparently I did really well. And I was on a drug trial all of last year, and that was the first year I was at that job. So, again, another really lucky experience in that sense. 

Kellie Curtain [00:25:51] Is it luck, or is it about trying to do as much research and keeping an open mind and reaching out to places like BCNA that can provide you with information? Is that one of the key messages, maybe for others? To, to really ... you've said you really do your homework? 

Dimity Paul [00:26:13] Yeah. I think the thing that I know about organizations like BCNA, which is so patient-focused and the outcomes for women going through cancer, i.e. how do you live whilst you're having these things? And all the work that has been done previously has taken a bit of the bite and a bit of the fear. So I think in a lot of workplaces, the idea of employing someone who had cancer or had been sick previously would have been all 'that's a bit too risky.' But I think a lot of the demystifying work that has been done by organisations like BCNA and normalising cancer and normalising breast cancer in a way has made all that difference. For a woman like me being just being able to go into an organisation to say, I got this cancer thing, but I'm gonna be fine. And I've been working all the way through it. So, you know, that doesn't happen on its own. That happens on the whole lot of work that has happened by generations of people prior to me. 

Kellie Curtain [00:27:10] You had touched on before about so especially at that initial stage of diagnosis that blur because there is so much information and even you being clearly a meticulous person in your, your research and wanting to know. You can, despite the best efforts, whether it's, you know, friends giving you their own anecdotes. My friend this, my friend that. But even medical professionals. There's a lot of mismatched information, isn't there? 

Dimity Paul [00:27:41] Absolutely. And I think, you know, a really good example was talking about fertility. I felt like I got two very different messages at different stages early on. You know, you don't know whether you'll get your fertility back. And they try to give you numbers. And, and then afterwards, I've been lucky my, my cycles have come back. But then information about what you were told earlier on is completely different. And, you know, even knowing about what kind of side effects you'll have, some people will say one thing, some people will say the other. 

Kellie Curtain [00:28:15] So what would your advice there be? 

Dimity Paul [00:28:17] Look, I think you can do as much research as you like. And I don't. I did not do online research. Avoid, avoid, avoid. Because I once Googled double mastectomy in a hope to get some, like, end results. I saw some awful surgeries, photos I never Googled again. So I was careful about where I went for the information. So BCNA or other online tools was where I went, or medical professionals who were friends was often the way or people I knew who knew someone who had breast cancer. So I spoke to them. Obviously my medical professionals as well. But my advice is: get what you need. Work out where your holes are and decide whether or not you need to lean into them or not. Cause you can't know everything. And I also think there's some bits you don't kind of really need to know. Like I didn't need to know the surgical ins and outs of what a mastectomy looks like. I'm very happy not to know about how they do it. That's fine. I'm very cool with that. I'm not great with blood. But what I did want to know is what would they look like afterwards? Like, you know. Say it's about picking the bits that you want to know about and not necessarily freaking yourself out because you can really freak yourself out if you do the research. I was when you saw I did research, I was very careful about the way I did it. 

Kellie Curtain [00:29:33] So life is good? 

Dimity Paul [00:29:34] Yeah. Yep. Yep. It's really good. I'm very lucky. There's still that thing, you know, when you say that triple negative. You still have that risk of recurrence and that, like that does sit. It sits with you. And it's kind of a little, it's a little thing that I don't know, you know, how those little angels you have like you're the devil angel and the happy angel? They're sort of ... It's not like that. But there's just this little thing that sits there in the background and it sits there and you're planning. So, for instance, we've been advised not to start a family until we get to five years' post diagnosis. So that's a thing. That's a bit sad when, you know, you might be in you know, all my friends are having kids at the moment. That can be hard. But, you know, in the end, you're just really bloody thankful for the amazing care and being here. So, yeah, life is good. 

Kellie Curtain [00:30:21] Thanks Dimity, for joining us on this episode of Upfront About Breast Cancer, which was made possible with thanks to Sussan. You can find more information about issues affecting young women with breast cancer on our website,, or on our My Journey online tool at The opinions of our guests are welcome, but not necessarily shared by BCNA. If you have any individual concerns, please contact your health professional. If you like this episode, make sure to leave us a rating and review on Apple podcasts. I'm Kelly Curtain. Thanks for being upfront with us. 

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