Ten years ago last month, 18 April, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. This has been a difficult blog to write. At the start of this year, I was ecstatic that I was reaching my 10 year anniversary since diagnosis, or what we call in the cancer community cancerversary. As the date drew closer, I became sad and overwhelmed. I found myself mourning my pre-cancer life again. I also experienced survivor guilt and the “Why me? Why am I still here and many women are not, including women I met in my support group and online communities?”
The honest truth is I still can’t believe that I had breast cancer.
I did not tick any of the boxes. There was no family history of the disease or any cancer in my family; I clearly remember saying to my surgeon “No, we don’t do cancer in my family, we do heart disease!” I was young, in my thirties. It turns out there are approximately 800 young women in Australia under the age of 40 who are diagnosed with breast cancer every year. Finally, I took care of myself. I ate well. I would go for a run in my lunch break. My weight was healthy, I didn’t smoke. Essentially, I was healthy. Yet, here I was 10 years ago in the surgeon’s rooms receiving a diagnosis I never expected to hear in my lifetime.
Has the journey been easy?
The short answer is no. I hated my body for betraying me despite all the care I gave it. I hated that I had to lose a body part in order to save my life. At the time of the diagnosis, I was in a really great place. I had a job I was enjoying. I had bought my one-bedroom box a few years before and I was enjoying my new home. My social life was great and my family were crazy and loving as always. I was fit and healthy. Then breast cancer came into my life.
In my typical style, I focussed on what I had to do.
As much as I did not want to lose my breast, I knew, for me, it was the right thing to do to give me a good chance of survival. I didn’t want to do chemo, yet again I knew, for me, it was the right thing to do to give me a good chance of survival. Ditto with the tamoxifen.
How did I cope with my diagnosis, surgery and treatment? I used humour.
In my family, we pretty much try to find the humour in a situation. My sisters made sure they kept my spirits up and even had me and the rest of the chemo ward in tears of laughter. Bless!!! We also give events nicknames. So basically, my cancer was known as the bastard, my chemo was the AVO and the tamoxifen which I am still taking is known as my insurance policy.
Before cancer, as a young child, teenager and young adult, the truth was, I was not a confident person. It had taken me many years to build my confidence levels and learn that I am enough. Unfortunately, breast cancer returned all my insecurities. Then something else happened which I had never experience before…..anxiety and depression. Yes, that ugly beast. Honestly, it is absolutely horrible. Unfortunately, I have learned it is now a part of my life. There are days where I just freeze, and I cannot do anything. There are days where a wave washes over me and all I want to do is close the doors and curl up and cry. It has been a real roller-coaster ride.
Yet, here is the thing...
I have been extremely fortunate that I have amazing supportive people in my life from my medical team to my family and to my friends. They have been absolute gems. You also know that my personal journey led me to create Red Fern Lingerie. Why? Well, essentially, I want to help women feel beautiful and reclaim their bodies after cancer. I personally believe the beauty of lingerie can help us heal emotionally and having a choice is empowering especially after cancer treatment. To say creating Red Fern Lingerie has been easy would be a lie. It has been a roller-coaster ride and I am still learning.
What keeps me going is you, my supporters and beautiful customers.
I love that you have allowed me the honour and privilege to help you in your lingerie needs. That is one thing I never forget, and I always focus on. I love receiving your feedback and I love meeting you at various events.
A huge thank you!
As a thank you for your bloody amazing support, and to celebrate my ten years, I am having a huge give-away. I have put a lot of thought into the prizes and decided I want to share the things I love with you. These are the things that make me smile and I hope they make you smile too. You will need to enter via our Facebook or Instagram page. I do hope you enter and also let your family and friends know about the giveaway and have them enter too. Personally, I wish I could enter… The prizes include:
- A dining voucher for two from Dedes Waterfront Group
- A beauty and hair treatment voucher from Oasis Day Spa, Randwick, NSW
- Glasshouse scented candle and floral bouquet
- Island Trading Co. scented candles
All things I love!
Enter via Instagram here or via Facebook here. Each platform has it's own 'Way to Enter' - but both entries are very easy! Enter today!
CELEBRATING WITH A SALE!
I am also offering you 40% discount on all lingerie until 30 June 2018. The double bonus is we don’t charge shipping, so you save again. I just love this!!! The discount code is 10YEARS and can be used multiple times during the promotion.
Here I am, ten years on and thankful.
I am thankful everyday that I am here and eternally grateful for my dedicated and caring medical team, my family, my friends and you, my lovers and supporters of Red Fern Lingerie. Thank you once again for allowing me to be a part of your life and journey. Please feel free to send me an email with your thoughts and feedback and don’t forget to hug the ones you love.
Love & Health,