I am facing the challenge of my life battling very aggressive, triple negative, grade 3, only 20% cure rate, breast cancer. I am 55 years old, 34 years happily married to Mark, I have a daughter, 25, Katie & son, Brad, 24.
This is my story with stage 3 triple negative breast cancer to date.
My story begins like this:
- World Masters October, 2009 Sydney I competed in the 50-54 age group events in both swimming & athletics where I obtained top ten finishes in every event, my best result being 4th in the Javelin throw.
The key events are:
- October 2009 – World Masters Sydney competed in swimming & athletics.
- November 2009 – I had serious accident at work injuring both arms requiring multiple surgeries. Doctors said I wouldn’t be able to swim again. Gained 20 kg in weight due to not being able to exercise.
- January 2012 –After working hard at my rehabilitation given the all clear to commence swimming again.
- June 2012 – I had lost the 20 kg thru diet & hard work & started competing again.
- July 2012 – I had a routine Breast screening mammogram, which showed a malignant tumor. Immediate lumpectomy showed cancer was very deadly, stage 3 triple negative breast cancer, only 20 percent cure rate. 5 months of very strong (FEC) chemotherapy followed.
- February 2013 – I started radiation.
- All the while having my treatment I maintained a high level of fitness running, swimming & gym despite being very sick hoping to still be able to compete at World Masters in Italy, August 2013.
It ends like this:
- January 2013 – Oncologist gives the all clear to go ahead & train & compete at World Masters.
- March 2013 – Finished radiation treatment & had some serious burns to my chest area, which required multiple dressings daily.
- March 2013 – Back in full training to compete at World Masters in Athletics – Shot Put, Javelin, Discus & 2km steeplechase & Swimming – 200 freestyle, 200 backstroke, 100 back stroke and 50 backstroke despite having some breathing difficulties.
- May 2013 – Admitted to hospital with heart complications (left chamber of heart only pumping at only 40%). Given heart medication.
- July 2013 – Kidneys showing some problems.
- August 2013 – Competed at Torino, Italy winning a silver medal in the 2km steeplechase, 4th in the javelin & top ten finishes in all my other 5 events.
- October 2013 – Competed at Australian Masters Games, Geelong, VIC winning Gold in the 2km Steeplechase & discus throw, silver in the 100 back stroke & bronze in the javelin throw & 200 backstroke.
However, I am determined to be on that starting line for the Pan Pacific Masters Games in November competing in athletics – 2 km steeplechase, shot put, discus, javelin & the weight pentathlon & swimming – 50, 100, 200 & 400 backstroke & 200, 400 freestyle & the 1.5 km open water.
I also have something called MGUS in my blood, which is an early marker for multiple myeloma, which is a blood cancer.
Sometimes we are dealt some unfortunate cards in life but its nothing that we can control…life is there to be lived no matter what!