The Beacon June FY22

To the woman on the right, You are not one for marking moments on a calendar because gratitude occurs every day. But in the cancer world, anniversaries seem to be important. Post-surgery recovery was more intense than you had ever imagined. But you were at home with your family and you knew that your recovery could now begin. Your body urgently needed you to be slow to heal. This was harder than you thought it would be. You felt uncomfortable accepting help. But you needed to. Your family needed you to. And you did. Your mum travelled from Queensland to live with you for six weeks supporting you, your husband and your girls. She is brave. You are like her. You look at yourself in the mirror and notice how differently your body appears following surgery. Some days this still makes you sad. Your body has formed so much of your identity. And you can’t stop thinking how dare something take this away from you. You know your husband loves you so much deeper than the physical being but you still doubt yourself of being worthy of love. To the woman on the right, you have a new relationship with your body and one you are still trying to work out. You felt self-conscious and wore scarves constantly to cover up the asymmetry for months after the surgery. Your response to these feelings was ok. And still is. Your daughter has, on numerous occasions, put a Band-Aid on her breast and told you she is going to help women remove their breast cancer when she is older. To the woman on the right, you can’t stop thinking about your children and how they experienced your breast cancer diagnosis and care journey. You think about your cancer treatment and feel the absence of conversation about how children experience a family cancer diagnosis and treatment. This conversation is needed. It was important to you knowing your children felt included in your family’s story. This was their story too. You hold your girls tightly, still not knowing all of the

answers. But you now know this is ok. Recurrence thoughts float in and out of your mind often, and you are still finding a way to manage them. You have more wonder and curiosity now than ever before. Never lose this. To the woman on the right, your body did not fail you. It urgently needed adjustments and you listened. To the woman on the right, the woman on the left enabled you to get here. She is brave and vulnerable and worthy. Love, me

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Issue 86 | April 2020 15

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