Breast Cancer : a small tale

August 27, 2018 78 Comments

Breast Cancer : a small tale

It is so easy to get caught up in the daily stresses of running a fashion business. And it is all too

tempting to feel sorry for oneself when things are pressured and the challenges seem overwhelming.

But then sometimes something or someone comes along and puts things in perspective.

I want to share with you the story of my friend K.

K was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer two years ago. She is a documentary filmmaker and was just about to launch into an exciting project- a huge leap forward in her career. She had just begun a new relationship, unexpected and wildly passionate. We met up at a trendy Fitzroy bar just before her world came crashing down around her. She was ecstatic. Life just seemed to be going her way.

The lump came on quickly. From nothing to several centimetres in the blink of an eye. And then her diagnosis. She had the worst kind of breast cancer. In the genes. In the breast, ovaries and fallopian tubes. They all came off and out. The chemo was the full strength Terminator version. As close to killing her as they could get without actually doing it.

And all through the process she documented her journey on social media. The love and comments were so caring. Her friends were so proud of her, so inspired and so supportive.  But there were warning signs.  A number of women came to her privately and told her not to share her story.....it would backfire.

Now on the road to recovery she is fighting hard to get her creative voice back...but it is not the lack of ideas which has been the obstacle. K has found that public sharing of her journey has worked against her. The very people who proclaimed support on social media have shunned her when it comes to funding her current project. It seems that she is now 'too risky' even if she comes with a clean bill of health.

K is a brave woman and will fight on. I am sure she will go on to make amazing films. But seeing first hand how the stigma is attached to her within her industry horrified me.

None of us want to be forced to discover just how brave we can be. And no one should be stigmatised as a breast cancer survivor.

If you have a personal story you would like to share please comment.

 




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Desma Jama
Desma Jama

September 01, 2018

Thank you for sharing your story. I understand how you feel as I, too, have been going through cancer treatment for the past 15 months. I had a Her2 positive, which because it was 5% hormonal is to be treated as a triple negative. Chemo, radiation, etc., you think you will never get through, but with support, you somehow keep on going. My latest venture was to have a part kidney removal last week, as there was another cancer there. So far I have had four different cancers, and like K, I have had my tubes and ovaries removed. It is times like this that you find out who your true friends are. I think I may have been lucky though, because my private health has covered everything except this last surgeon account, but they have covered almost all the expenses for procedures, as they were done in a hospital.

However, I have heard so many horrendous stories of the enormous expenses that people incur, and I can well understand why people opt out of private health insurance.

I wish you every success, and I am sure that you will find the right people to assist you on this journey.

KJ
KJ

August 30, 2018

Thanks to Cathy for being such a wonderful friend, championing my story, and to the responders Jo & Angela for your beautiful supportive messages.
It really helps me find the gumption to get up again and fight on.
I still have just a few surgeries to go this year, but fully intend to get back to filmmaking.
This incideous disease, and the naysayers are not going to stop me!
The project I’m trying to make as my ‘comeback’ is a documentary about breast cancer – and the impact it makes on our lives, physically, emotionally, financially and socially with a story of hope in the fore – that of my wonderful breast cancer survivor Dragon Boat team, The Aussie Dragonflies going to the world BC survivor Dragon Boat festival in Italy this year.
I’ve shot footage of that ( and we won!) but now shall be aiming to shoot all the other interviews and stories that will make up the fabric of the documentary.
For example; women are not advised at the beginning of their journey that treating breast cancer under private health insurance policies can see them charged exorbitant, arbitrarily-assigned prices for surgeries, test and treatments. The average total is approximately $35,000 AUD.
Yet being treated as a public patient reduces all the costs without negatively impacting treatment. In 2 years I’ve been charged approx $10,000 under the public system for an array of tests, treatments and procedures, but I would have been gouged for over $45,000 had I registered with private health insurance. It’s insane, and unconscionable. Women are losing their life savings and their superannuation, and financial security quite unnecessarily. I want everyone to know their true options should they develop cancer.
So, the upshot is that I’m lucky to have finally found a wonderful producer who’s not put off by my cancer survivorship, and understands that this film is being made to inform and empower women.
If you’d like to know more, just follow the project or support the film with a tax deductible donation please go to: http://www.documentaryaustralia.com.au/films/4313/dragonflies-in-florence

Thank you so much to the Smooth collective. Unity is the most amazing and powerful response to negativity.

Angela K
Angela K

August 27, 2018

Let me start the ball rolling … I have $1,000 waiting to be deposited anywhere you tell me. I have no understanding of the behaviour of your past ‘supporters’. Do not waste one precious moment even thinking of them. Onwards and upwards and let’s get your next film made. Sending you love and light ×××

Jo Rixon
Jo Rixon

August 27, 2018

Stay positive K! I am going through a similar experience, but with Pancreatic cancer (the unfashionable one that no-one wants to talk about and does not get any funding). I have found the whole experience grueling, but also transformational. I now know who my true friends are, they are the ones who gave me total unconditional love and support, were constantly positive and uplifting throughout my journey. And still are!

Things are looking positive for me, but there are still a few speed-bumps to overcome, and my digestive system has taken on a life of its own! My life will never be the same again, but I am glad of that, because although my body has taken a hammering, by soul has been uplifted by the experience. Not much that daily life throws up phases me these days, but I still dread spending time in hospital, what it does to my body and the effect it has on those I love. But I take it a day at a time and try not to dwell on the negative, just thank the Universe that I am alive and still functioning.

From online postings from other Pancreatic cancer sufferers, my heart is torn in two when I read that many have been rejected by friends and family because of their illness – Lord knows it is something we cannot control and did not cause ourselves! Seek out only those who are supportive and cut off anyone who tries to bring you down. Your healing is the only thing that is important, not what the muppets on social media think about it.

Good luck with your healing journey and your future endeavours. I believe everything happens for a purpose, and this profound, life-changing experience has happened to you because you are strong, wonderful and have a message to share with the world.

Jo xxx

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