2 years since diagnosis

Phase of treatment: Remission
Age at interview: 35

Melissa (35 years old) is married and works in a governmental agency and has a son who is twelve years old.

Melissa was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer in 2013. Melissa first felt the lump a couple of months before when she was reaching up high to put the dishes away. Breast cancer seems to run in Melissa’s family as her mother, 2 aunts and her cousin have all been diagnosed with breast cancer. This was one of the reasons why Melissa decided to inform a friend about her lump who is a radiologist and not her direct family as she didn’t want to concern them. This friend was by her side while she went through the initial testing. Melissa told her husband after she had an MRI and decided to tell her parents when they came over for a visit; she felt that she was able to support her parents through this period! It wasn’t easy for Melissa to decide whether she wanted chemotherapy or not.  Her two aunts had died of their cancer following their chemotherapy whereas her mother did not have chemotherapy and yet was still healthy. In the end, Melissa did choose to undergo chemotherapy because she decided she would rather do the treatment now while she was still young and strong rather than at a later stage. Melissa’s family doctor called her personally to tell her to make sure to find out what chemotherapy means with regards to her fertility. Melissa can’t recall at all if the cancer team brought it up to her as well even though it is such an important aspect in her life. Visualisation, Reiki and some other complementary treatments have helped Melissa cope with the illness. At the same time she believes strongly in the positive contribution of the use of humour and having an optimistic attitude.


More content