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.
Lucy dreaded telling her daughters she had cancer.
Julie faced one of the biggest challenges in her life.
This remarkable young woman is just 23.
Michelle and Simone's story