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
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.