KISS THIS, CANCER!

Nicole

"My battle with cancer began on the 28th February 2012. Hearing the news, for a moment in time it felt as though my entire life stood still, I had been told to decide between just removing the surrounding tissue of the lump or having a mastectomy, this was one of the most difficult decisions of my life, cutting out only part of it could mean battling through more extensive chemotherapy than if I had to choose the mastectomy, little did I know that even after choosing to have the mastectomy, I would still be put onto a minimum of a 6 year treatment plan. The cancer had actually started in April 2011 when I developed a lump, however this was wrongly diagnosed by 2 different doctors, I was at my fittest, healthiest peak, training for my first crossfit challenge."

"In April 2011 I discovered a lump above my nipple about the size of a 20c coin, the doctor said that it was purely my heavy gyming that had caused a fat gland to go hard, this lump gradually began to increase in size however the doctor’s diagnosis remained the same.

In February 2012, the lump now the size of a golf ball suddenly turned black and blue with purple around the edges literally overnight - the lump had begun to burn and itch about 2 weeks prior to this. I then decided to consult with another doctor who warned me immediately that this was not a good sign.

I had a biopsy done where a needle of almost 10 cm's was inserted directly into the lump, it was explained to me that should the needle come out with fluids, there would be nothing to worry about, and if dry, it would be a tumour, the needle came out dry.

I had the tumor removed on the 21st of February and was told that I had breast cancer of stage 1 on the 28th of February 2012. This is when I had to make the decision and chose to have a mastectomy. The “C” word defined my entire life from that moment onwards.

After my mastectomy, it was found that I had a very rare breast cancer which is microscopic and that in fact I had stage 3 cancer with an average survival time of 6 years, I was now living with a 19cm scar across my chest and a scar across my mind and soul, it ate at me.

I had chemotherapy sessions called the Red Devil which I was allergic to but had no choice but to have which then continued onto 2 other types of chemotherapy as well as radiation of every day for 6 weeks, causing my skin to smell of burnt flesh. I took 3 months to heal from my open wounds as my immune system was extremely low.

I then decided to publish an article in a magazine called Alice with photos of myself wearing my scars with pride to assist other women in their challenges with the shame they feel after such an experience. I found a lot of solace in doing this and this I believe made me stronger and more willing and able to fight.

I now find myself 6 years down the line, having won the battle that unfortunately so many have lost, including an uncle and friend, however I believe that being positive and looking to the right places for support as I did with my family, friends and strong oncology team, can definitely determine the outcome. I am still physically fit and remain positive that I will remain a survivor of this horrible disease.

I wish cancer would get cancer and die."

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