Mother & Baby (Australia) - - M&b Awards -

A fam­ily history of can­cer, in­clud­ing her mother pass­ing away from the dis­ease when she was only nine years old, prompted Hay­ley to un­dergo a test for the BRCA1 gene. Women who have this gene have a greatly in­creased chance of de­vel­op­ing breast can­cer. When Hay­ley tested pos­i­tive for the gene, she was faced with the real pos­si­bil­ity that she might not be around to see her daugh­ter, Si­enna, grow up. So she made the dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion to un­dergo a dou­ble mas­tec­tomy.

“I couldn’t bear my daugh­ter liv­ing the life that I lived. It was quite hard but it’s been worth it,” she says. Although Hay­ley and her hus­band, Robert, live in ru­ral Queens­land, she chose to have surgery at St Vin­cent’s Hos­pi­tal in Syd­ney, where her mother-in-law had un­der­gone treat­ment for can­cer. Robert and Si­enna made a tem­po­rary base in Syd­ney and Hay­ley’s ex­tended fam­ily also flew in from Mel­bourne to be with her.

Hay­ley spent her 32nd birthday in hos­pi­tal re­cov­er­ing from the mas­tec­tomy and re­con­struc­tive surgery. “There are days when I look at my­self and I don’t like what I see,” she says. “There are cer­tain clothes I don’t wear. I’m more con­ser­va­tive.” But she has no doubts that it was the right de­ci­sion for her and her kids – Si­enna and new baby brother Benji.

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