A new, pos­i­tive per­spec­tive to life de­spite bat­tling breast can­cer: a sur­vivor and a battler speak about their ex­pe­ri­ences

Two women be­ing helped by the Action for Breast Can­cer Foun­da­tion have managed to find a more pos­i­tive out­look on life in hav­ing been faced with bat­tling breast can­cer. is still on the jour­ney back to health, while has for­tu­nately now been cer­ti­fied as

The Malta Independent on Sunday - - NEWS -

Josette Aquilina is a 49-yearold breast-can­cer sur­vivor who had a lumpec­tomy, the re­moval of a breast tu­mour, just over a year ago in Au­gust last year. Two months later, in Oc­to­ber, she be­gan a course of chemo­ther­apy which was com­pleted in April this year.

“The ex­pe­ri­ence was not easy. I tried to look at it as a jour­ney, one that was long and mys­te­ri­ous with­out an end in sight. It did help me get in touch with my­self, some­thing I had put off do­ing for some time.”

She de­scribed how find­ing out that you have can­cer is like hav­ing some­body close to you dy­ing. She said that, apart from be­ing in de­nial about what was happening in her body – al­though deep down she re­ally knew – her mother had passed away in the March, after hav­ing suf­fered from Parkin­son’s dis­ease for five years, just a few months be­fore Aquilina had ma­jor surgery.

She went on to the de­scribe the ma­jor hard­ship she went through dur­ing her bat­tle, from an iden­tity crises as a re­sult of seeing your­self so weak, to the fear of telling fam­ily, and the dif­fi­cul­ties for her own friends and fam­ily in deal­ing with what hap­pened. Aquilina said she found it dif­fi­cult to ex­press her­self and be­came quite emo­tional.

In the end, she said, be­ing forced to deal with your own mor­tal­ity opens up a whole new per­spec­tive to life and the whole ordeal fos­tered “cre­ativ­ity and in­no­va­tion” in the new way she is liv­ing her life.

She thanked all the staff at Mater Dei hos­pi­tal for help­ing her and for the great ser­vice. Should you wish to con­tact the Action for Breast Can­cer Foun­da­tion, which does won­der­ful work in sup­port­ing breast can­cer pa­tients in many ways, it can be reached on: in­for@ac­tion­for­breast­cancer.com

Lor­raine Vella is cur­rently bat­tling breast can­cer. Seven years ago, her mother had her­self con­tracted the dis­ease and be­cause the 41year-old had seen what her mother had gone through, the mo­ment she felt some­thing in her breast, she im­me­di­ately sought med­i­cal ad­vice. The doc­tor she con­sulted, however, as­sured her that there was nothing wrong.

So she made an ap­point­ment with a gy­nae­col­o­gist, who iden­ti­fied a lump. Be­cause of the fam­ily his­tory, a mam­mo­gram and ul­tra­sound were car­ried out im­me­di­ately which re­sulted in Grade 3 can­cer be­ing iden­ti­fied. This news came on 7 May and by 4 June she be­gan her first round of chemo­ther­apy, with her last round be­ing just last Wed­nes­day.

In a few weeks, Vella will have surgery, and after that she must then have six weeks of ra­di­a­tion ther­apy. She will re­quire an­other form of treat­ment after that and will be on daily med­i­ca­tion for the next 10 years.

Vella re­marked that the sup­port given by the staff at Mater Dei made you feel like a princess and said that she is very grate­ful for their help.

Asked about her fam­ily, she said she had told her older son im­me­di­ately, but waited a while to tell her younger son be­cause he was in the mid­dle of ex­ams. She said that, on a per­sonal level, she ini­tially took the news badly but, de­spite the cir­cum­stances, she has managed to achieve a much more pos­i­tive out­look on life than she had be­fore she found out about the breast can­cer.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malta

© PressReader. All rights reserved.