Barbe thought she had done everything right. She had breastfed her three children, she was fit, didn’t smoke and didn’t drink (much). Still, before she reached her 40th birthday, she sat in a doctor’s office to hear the words “you have cancer”.
Throughout a rollercoaster of appointments and treatment sessions, Barbe’s concern was for her husband and their three children, who were still in primary school. Barbe juggled being a parent and a patient, facing chemotherapy and radiotherapy together with school drop-offs and parent-teacher nights, proudly wearing her wig or a scarf.
Eventually, her body healed and her hair grew back. But just one week after celebrating being five years cancer-free, Barbe found another lump. She had no choice; it was strongly recommended she have a mastectomy. There is no doubt that breast cancer has changed Barbe’s life. She has discovered a courage and strength she never knew before. And she truly values time – time that she can spend with family and friends who walked with her during her breast cancer journey – and carried her some of the way. Read her letter below.
So, you made it! The year is 2030 and 66 years of age is no mean feat. There were times throughout your life when you thought even a one-year plan was impossible, but here you are, nearly 30 years after your first diagnosis! I hope that your world is looking a little different now that deaths from breast cancer are merely a historical fact. You know, in the same list of diseases as the Bubonic Plague and Polio.
Because that’s what the National Breast Cancer Foundation fought for so long, Barbe. Supporting research to eradicate breast cancer as a life-threatening disease. We now treat it like a little ailment that is annoying, but that we get over.
We lost 8 people from breast cancer every day in 2020 and to be living in a world where that is no longer the case is just wonderful.
You can tell your grandkids a story that starts with: ‘Once upon a time there was a horrible disease called breast cancer…’ but that ends with: ‘And everyone lives happily ever after…’
So you can live your best life with your family and have peace of mind.
Love, Barbe x