Lucy, a mother of two girls, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer following her first mammogram.
She had just turned 41. Her daughters were aged seven and five.
“Even though my grandmother and aunt had breast cancer, and my cousin had been through it a year ago, I just never thought it would happen to me,” Lucy said.
Seven months after her diagnosis and mastectomy, the shock of Lucy’s situation still remains.
“I think we all assume it’s not going to happen to us and then it does and you think ‘oh, it’s real’ but it didn’t feel real; I wasn’t unwell and I couldn’t feel a lump,” she said.
“I didn’t process the news at all; I just kept thinking about how I was going to tell my husband, my children and the rest of my family that I had cancer.”
One of the biggest challenges Lucy faced was telling her daughters, Millie, 7, and Ruby, 5.
“Millie said, ‘Mummy, you’ve got cancer haven’t you?’ and I said, ‘Yes I have darling’ and then she said ‘Are you going to die?’.
“It was so hard to deal with but I told them that I had bad lumps in one of my boobies and that I would have to have it cut off. They asked me what would happen to it afterwards.”
Three months after a mastectomy on her right breast, Lucy went back under the knife to remove her left breast.
“Every day I would wake up wondering if the cancer had spread to the left side. I couldn’t wait around for the cancer to happen again and to have to tell the girls again,” she said.
Although she opted for a prosthetic breast after her first mastectomy, Lucy has since booked in for reconstructive surgery.
“It’s a massive deal when you lose both your breasts; it’s a real dig on your femininity,” she said.
“Now that the risk of reoccurrence is completely gone and I’ve booked in for my reconstruction I’m really excited and I feel like I’m getting there.”
The survival rates for breast cancer have significantly increased due mainly to screening and early diagnosis and 88% of women who are diagnosed with breast cancer now survive. However that means 1430 of the women diagnosed with breast cancer each year will lose their fight and that is 1430 too many.
Smiling for Smiddy raises funds for breast cancer research at Mater in the hope that we can make even great improvements on the survival rates for breast cancer for future generations.