Sadly Irma passed away in July 2018. We are grateful to her for sharing her story with us.
My story began in April 1980 just before my 40th birthday when I did the self breast examination, which was being advertised the previous year for the first time.
At that point I found a small lump in my left breast and went to see my GP who admitted me to Woden Hospital to do a sample of the lump which proved to be early breast cancer.
I was referred to a surgeon and it was suggested that I have a mastectomy of the left breast as lumpectomies weren't proven to be successful at that time. However, I survived without chemotherapy, and went on until 1982 when I decided to have a breast reconstruction of silicone gel, which has survived the years, from a plastic surgeon.
In 2009, another early lump was detected in my right breast and shortly after I had a lumpectomy and follow up radiotherapy. Then in 2014, purely by chance, a CT scan picked up a small mark on my upper left lung. Four days later I had a lobectomy of the upper left lung.
Good reports since 2014. My lung cancer is hopefully behind me. The oncologist saw me shortly after December 2014 and he said he didn't want to see me anymore and I wasn't required to receive chemotherapy. I regularly visit the surgeon, Dr John Tharion (every three months at present) and good reports each time so far.
I was well enough in April 2015 to recommence playing lawn bowls and I haven't looked back since.