Ladies and Gentlemen, make yourself a warm cup of tea and settle in for a very raw + honest story time with the beautiful Courtney.
Courtney is a loyal and loving BH customers, and we are so beyond honoured to have her share her journey of being diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 32 years young. And with October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month here in Australia, we hope that in reading Courtney's story, you hug your kids a little tighter tonight, tell your special ones you love them, AND TRULY make it your mission to live this one and precious life like Courtney does. *Cue the goose bumps for the closing words below*
My name is Courtney and I am 38 years old. I am a wife, a mum, a former-registered nurse, and I am now living with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. On the 21st of May 2015 at 32 years old my whole world was turned upside down when I heard the words “you have breast cancer”. After 10 months of gruelling chemotherapy, radiation, a mastectomy, a hysterectomy, a rollercoaster of emotions and far too much time spent in the hospital I was given the all-clear and was trying to move forward with my life. However, a short time later, in December of 2016, I was dealt another more devastating blow. I was told the breast cancer had returned, this time it was metastatic (Stage 4), breast cancer that had spread to my ribs, my pelvis and my spine. Stage 4 breast cancer is an incurable disease, and I was told that eventually it would take my life. My husband Mark and I were utterly devastated, my children were only 5 and 2 years old at the time, and I was told that I would be lucky if I was around to see my youngest daughter turn 7.
Breast cancer impacts women (and men) of all ages, and unfortunately 1/3 of all people diagnosed with an early stage breast cancer, (stage 0 - stage 3) will go on to be re-diagnosed later as stage 4. Stage 4 breast cancer is breast cancer that has moved beyond the breast and spread to distant organs - usually the bones, liver, lungs or the brain. Stage 4 breast cancer has no cure and treatment for this disease never ends. It is the only breast cancer that kills. Since my stage 4 diagnosis, I have dedicated my time and my life to trying to save and prolong my life. I have 2 beautiful children who sadly don’t have a memory of their mummy without cancer, but they certainly need and deserve a mummy, and so I made a promise to myself, and to them, to do everything in my power to keep myself as healthy as possible, to explore all types of treatments and therapies available and to leave no stone unturned in order to give myself the best possible chance of being around for a very long time.
If I could give one piece of collective advice to all women and men - please check your breasts, please teach your teenage daughters (and sons) to check their breasts, and be vigilant of changes. When checking, also feel your armpits, check for lumps, bumps, pain, ripples, nipple discharge or anything that isn’t normal for you. Do not let a doctor tell you that you are too young, too pregnant, or that the changes you feel are solely from monthly hormones or breastfeeding, and certainly do no let them tell you that you are overreacting. Follow your gut and seek a second opinion if you need too. I have connected with numerous women over the last few years, of all ages ranging from 19 years upwards all from different walks of life who have been impacted by breast cancer. Some of these ladies have been pregnant when diagnosed, some have been breastfeeding at the time. It is a hideous disease and it certainly does not discriminate against anybody.
My favourite piece of life advice to share, which is so deeply important, is to live for today. In a world where everyone is so busy, live in the moment, practice gratitude, stop rushing, slow down, smell flowers, admire trees, look up into the stars at night, listen intently to your children and your loved ones, don’t sweat the small stuff (and honestly most of it really is small stuff), and remind yourself so often of what your real soul purpose is for being on this earth. Appreciate your health and look after it. Appreciate everything you have and everybody in your life as one day the life you have always known could change forever.
Tomorrow is literally promised to no-one, so count your blessings, today tomorrow and every day that you are on this earth.
Throughout the month of October 2020, we will be donating $1 from every sale to The National Breast Cancer Foundation. Together, we can play a small part in helping raise awareness and contributing to such an important cause that impacts so many lives.