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Breast cancer: a daughter’s story.

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By Allicia Tucker for The Sista Code

I’ll never forget my Dad taking me with my little brother and sister to the family dining room to tell us the bad news. We knew it was going to be serious: Dad’s tone and the fact that we’re not the kind of family that sits down at the dinner table to ‘chat’ was the giveaway.

But there was nothing that could prepare me for the words ‘Mum has breast cancer.’ Nothing can prepare you to hear that. Those three little words sent me into shock. What this would mean for all of us?

I felt fear, sadness, and panic but as the eldest child, I spent the rest of the afternoon looking after my two younger siblings. I could hear Dad comfort Mum as she cried while she made phone calls to the rest of our friends and family.

We spent the next couple of weeks trying to support Mum as she rode the wave of emotions, and prepared herself for the ‘battle’ that was to come. I was just beginning high school and I had no idea how to cope with the change to ‘big school’, let alone keep the rest of my life in running order.

If there’s one thing that I’ve learnt since, is that life doesn’t wait to see if you’re ready; it just throws situations at you. You’re supposed to manage and look capable but I felt anything but prepared for what was about to come.

The next couple of weeks consisted of homework, going in and out of hospital to visit Mum while has had her surgeries. Apart from the craziness at home, the rest of my life was spent with friends and going to parties – the big year of 13th birthday parties are what excited us young soon-to-be teenagers.

I’m so grateful for the lovely friends that were with me during that time; they didn’t try to make me feel better or cheer me up, they were just there being my friends. Hanging out with all of my supportive friends was the most I’ve ever felt normal, it was nice to just be and not have to worry.

The next year and a half of our lives were all about cancer. Mum had to undergo chemotherapy, radiation treatment and numerous surgeries. It was so awful seeing her sick and in pain. She had weeks and rounds of chemotherapy treatment so her immune system was destroyed and we had to make sure we weren’t passing on any sickness or colds to her.

It was hard on Dad too. He still had to work but would race home everyday to cook our dinners and look after us. I did my part to keep us all going and we were lucky because we had support from others as well.

There wasn’t ever time to sit back and think about it all, and better yet, it was nice not too. As a ‘thinkaholic’, I would’ve driven myself crazy; the best thing was just to do and keep going, one baby step at a time. I’m thankful for all the beautiful people in our life, who were there to support us and offer everything they could to help us manage and just keep going. It gave me hope.

I’ve never in my life felt more helpless or uncertain. Cancer is a dangerous and uncertain battle. There are so many things that can go wrong, so many complications, so many different ways you can react to medications and so many ways you can get sick during chemotherapy and radiation treatment. The more I think about cancer survivors the more I think it’s a miracle they even make it. It’s truly an uncertain battle. As someone who hates uncertainty, it was my worst nightmare come to life.

The Doctors at The Mercy Hospital in Melbourne were beautiful people, always there to support us and always there to offer whatever support and encouragement they could. They didn’t ever hide the truth about the difficulties ahead but didn’t ever leave us without a positive word or feeling – we never felt defeated.

I’m glad to say that after a year and a half of fighting her breast cancer battle, Mum had beaten it. I’m so grateful she did, I could’ve never gone these years without my mum by my side. She has always been my encouragement, support and biggest cheerleader when life gets me down.

I’m so grateful that she didn’t get diagnosed a second time, as there’s always a risk of it coming back. I can’t even fully put into words everything we went through, it’s something you can’t truly understand until you go through it.

This October month is Pink Ribbon Breast Cancer awareness month. It’s a time to celebrate and cheer on the amazing women who are fighting this breast cancer battle and to remember those who weren’t so fortunate to defeat it.

It’s not only a disease that affects one person, but it’s a journey that an entire family and loved ones witness and go through together. You can’t defeat it alone, it takes a village!

For more information about the Pink October month head to http://www.nbcf.org.au

 Written by Allicia Tucker for The Sista Code

 

Melissa Histon

Photographer, philanthropist, adventurer, blogger, avid permitter and social changer, Melissa Histon is a woman on a mission to make a real difference to the lives of women globally. Melissa spent 10 years working in the corporate world before leaving to establish a successful photography business. After experiencing a number of life-altering events, Melissa created The Sista Code in May 2014 with a dream to see women empowered, happy and connected. Whether it's building a house for the homeless in Nepal, interviewing inspiring women from around the globe, or creating events and campaigns to support sistas escaping domestic violence, Melissa knows that true change can only happen when we all stand together and boost each other.

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