Standing in the shower one Friday morning, Val felt a lump on her breast.
Although she wasn’t overly concerned, she mentioned it to her best friend Jude and husband, Keith.
“They were both more alarmed than I was, and said I needed to see my doctor the following day,” Val said.
The 54-year-old said she’d make an appointment the following week, but her loved ones insisted.
Ten days later, Val went for a mammogram and in an instant, everything changed.
“They started talking about cancer; I’d taken an hour off work to have a mammogram and then found out I wouldn’t be going back to work for more than nine months,” Val said.
Val needed a mastectomy, followed by months of intense chemotherapy and radiation.
“What got to me the most was losing my nipple—I remember them saying that they were going to take my breast and I asked if I could keep the nipple. They said ‘no’,” Val said, tears welling up in her eyes.
“I’d always been so proud of my boobs and then suddenly, when I got out of bed, I’d be confronted with the mirror. I had a bald head, no eyebrows and no boob.”
They started talking about cancer; I’d taken an hour off work to have a mammogram and then found out I wouldn’t be going back for more than nine months.
Thankfully, Mater Chicks in Pink were there to help Val out with big and little things.
“Mater Chicks in Pink helped me buy a wig and mastectomy bras. They also gave me parking vouchers for my (many) visits to the hospital,” Val said.
“Having the mastectomy bra and prosthesis made me feel heaps better; I felt a bit normal and in the end I had three bras which I referred to as ‘my friends’; one for gym, one for going out and one for swimming.”
“Having done the RACQ International Women’s Day Fun Run before, I was already familiar with Mater Chicks in Pink. Little did I know I would one day be on the receiving end!”
Val completed radiation on New Years’ Eve 2013 and underwent reconstructive surgery in January 2015.
“I’m still going through that now; they recently gave me a nipple, but there’s still a bit of tweaking to do,” she laughed.
Providing a woman with a mastectomy bra after surgery costs just $105, but it truly can change the world of a woman with breast cancer. A woman like Val. Your support of Mater Chicks in Pink is making the world of difference to women with breast cancer at Mater.
Val shares her breast cancer story.
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