🎗Selena - Survivor
My Story 🎗
Hi, my name is Selena Thurbon and I had breast cancer – is a sentence I never ever thought I would say. Like so many other women I believed it wouldn’t happen to me, how bloody naive of me!!!
I was very diligent in having mammograms, like that would be enough to make sure I didn’t get it – right!!! I had my mammograms every 2 years on my birthday in March, my best friend I would go into the city for my test at the Rose Clinic, afterwards we would have lunch and go shoe shopping. No point having any pain without a little pleasure. This particular year I left it late and didn’t get to have my scan until November. I can remember thinking – maybe I will skip it all together this year. But the lure of shoe shopping and lunch with my bestie was always going to get me there I reckon.
After my mammogram in November 2017 – I was called back for another check-up. I went along on my own to that check-up still absolutely confident that it was a mistake and another quick check would clear me. I sat in a room with about a dozen other woman who had been called back, gradually they got called in and most of them got dressed and left, that was what I was going to be doing for sure. I had another mammogram, and then an ultrasound and told there is a lump there and we are going to do a biopsy now. The biopsy was done, and I finally got to go home and told to come back in 2 days.
I remained positive that it would still come back clear and went to my appointment alone again. On the 19th December, I remember sitting in the doctor's room and him telling me you have breast cancer and you need surgery – I can fit you in this week and call my office tomorrow. It took all my wits to remain calm and to continue to listen to what I was being told. I started asking questions about the tumour and it was explained to me that it was an encapsulated cyst and he had only seen 2-3 other cases like this. Shit – was that good or bad??? In the room with me was a councillor and I can remember looking at her and hoping like hell she was going to be able to give me better news. I left that room with my results – and asked the councillor whether I had to have this surgeon do my operation or could I find another? I was free to go anywhere I wanted, I just needed to take my results to my GP and get a new referral.
Since I have been working with Pink Ribbon Motorcycle Ride – I had a relationship with the wonderful staff at BCI Westmead. I scanned my results and sent them to Nirmala at BCI. She called me straight away and I asked her to review my results and tell me straight – is this something I had to address 2 days before Xmas? I knew if I was going to have surgery, I wanted the great James French to perform it. We both cried on the phone – but I clearly remember her saying after she reviewed the results – we have got this!!!! If you want to come in and see James today – I will get you in front of him! I was more confident and made the decision that I was going to go and enjoy my Xmas with my family and deal with this in the New Year.
In the New Year I had my lump removed and I began an extensive round of radiation. My recovery was speedy, and I am truly fortunate the I didn’t delay that mammogram any longer than I already had, I may well have been having a different conversation with you all now. I am healthy and well - I have had my 1-year check-up and life is back to its former busy normal.
So, my message here is – please be diligent and have regular mammograms! Please ask the question of your love ones when they last got checked? Did you know that 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime? And that 9 out of 10 women who develop breast cancer do not have a family history of the disease. Mammograms identify 84% of women that have breast cancer. Having regular mammograms is the most effective way of detecting breast cancer early, when more treatment options are available, and when your chances of survival from this disease are the greatest.