Sarina’s story: It’s people and relationships that matter the most
Our Community Ambassador Sarina shares her breast cancer story with us:
In April 2021, I felt a small, hard lump that felt like a marble in my right breast and went to my GP and honestly, I thought nothing of it. There is no history of breast cancer in my family, I felt fit and healthy and only 45 years old. I thought it was just a cyst or some fibrous tissue. There was no pain, I had no symptoms, I wasn’t tired and felt totally normal.
Within 24 hours of having a mammogram and ultrasound my whole world changed with a 95% likelihood of breast cancer. After a battery of tests, scans, biopsies and meetings, it was confirmed I had ER (estrogen receptor) and PR (progesterone receptor) positive stage 2 breast cancer. I had two lumps in my right breast as well as 3 positive lymph nodes in my right armpit.
The treatment plan for me was neoadjuvant chemotherapy, followed by a lumpectomy and partial lymph node clearance, then 6 weeks of radiotherapy and now 2 years of medications.
The biggest piece of advice I can give to anyone on their journey is this: be prepared for things to change. Whether it’s your treatment plan, surgery options, how your body is feeling and responding to medications and drugs, try and be flexible and try and stay in the here and now.
It’s a rollercoaster and one of the biggest factors that helped enormously were the people in my life. You will be surprised by who shows up and the amazing capacity for care and help. I only told my family, my circle of friends, and my work colleagues. I didn’t share anything on social media until I did the Mother’s Day Classic in 2022 a year on from my diagnosis when I felt strong enough to share to the wider world. Be kind to yourself!
“It’s a rollercoaster and one of the biggest factors that helped enormously were the people in my life.”
Sarina is passionate about raising awareness of breast cancer, and as she approaches her one-year surgery anniversary, she wants people to know that in the biggest challenge of your life, it’s people and relationships that matter the most. Whether it’s a chemo nurse, an orderly, your next-door neighbour, a friend, a colleague, a brother or sister. Be gentle, be vulnerable, ask for help, and each day at a time.