‘MY PER­FECT WORLD CAME CRASH­ING DOWN’

Amy Vasilie, 37, from NSW re­fused to let can­cer take her sense of hu­mour

Cosmopolitan (Australia) - - Ycc Wrap-up -

In 1982, there were 5,000 breast can­cer cases in Aus­tralia In 2018, an es­ti­mated 18,000 will be di­ag­nosed. ‘I knew I was go­ing to fight it with ev­ery­thing I had’

I WAS di­ag­nosed at the age of 31. I had an 11­year­old step daugh­ter, a two­and­a­half­year­old and a 22­month­old. Our fam­ily was com­plete and we were onto the next stage of our lives, rais­ing our fam­ily and look­ing for­ward to a bright fu­ture to­gether.

I was so happy, and I re­call say­ing to my hus­band one day, ‘life is per­fect’. Then I was di­ag­nosed with can­cer and my en­tire world came crash­ing down. I didn’t know if

I was go­ing to make it through, but I knew I was go­ing to fight it with ev­ery­thing I had, be­cause I couldn’t bear the thought of my kids grow­ing up with­out their mum.

Due to fam­ily history, I would check my breasts at the start of every month. On ANZAC Day 2013, I had a shower and no­ticed a lump on my left breast and went to see a GP. Af­ter a se­ries of scans, my GP con­firmed I had can­cer. I was di­ag­nosed with a very ag­gres­sive form of duc­tal car­ci­noma. I sat there, com­pletely numb. I was in com­plete shock and dis­be­lief. My per­fect world had come crash­ing down around me.

I was di­ag­nosed on the Fri­day and on the Mon­day I was see­ing the breast sur­geon who sent me for var­i­ous tests to see if the can­cer had spread. These tests took a cou­ple of weeks, but thank­fully the can­cer hadn’t spread.

I strug­gled to keep it to­gether and would of­ten spend my days cry­ing. I couldn’t even tuck my kids into bed with­out sob­bing. I kept think­ing, What if this time next year I’m dead and I’m not here to tuck them into bed? They won’t re­mem­ber who

I am. I tried to stay pos­i­tive, but it was very hard.

I had a dou­ble mas­tec­tomy, and chemo­ther­apy plus Her­ceptin as my can­cer was hor­mone­re­lated. I had re­cov­ered from the op­er­a­tion and started the first of nine rounds of chemo­ther­apy a month later. I fin­ished all my treat­ment in Au­gust 2014.

I feel in­cred­i­bly blessed to have such amaz­ing friends and fam­ily. My close friends de­cided that every month we would host a spe­cial event. One month we even had crazy wig night. The one thing can­cer couldn’t take was my sense of hu­mour.

For those who are watch­ing a loved one go through this, be pa­tient and sup­port­ive. If you don’t know what to say, then say ex­actly that. It doesn’t mat­ter how small the ges­ture, if some­one is sick it will still give them a boost. I had so many peo­ple who couldn’t visit but would cheer me on with text mes­sages or mes­sages on Face­book or writ­ing let­ters. When you’re sick, you feel so alone. It’s nice to know peo­ple care.

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