What and when was your diagnosis?
Widowed at 34 with two babies to bring up so the most important thing in my life is Family. Have been lucky enough to meet my now second husband and we loved travelling with the kids. I also worked part-time as a bookkeeper in a small family business who were wonderful throughout my journey re time off and even sometimes working from home (this was unusual back then).
How would you describe your initial reactions and feelings when you first received your breast cancer diagnosis?
Initial reaction was utter fear, as I’d lost my husband to cancer. But once the Doctors talked me through what they could do and that would ‘cure’ me, I felt relief and very positive.
What aspects of your individuality do you feel have been most challenged, changed or strengthened by this experience?
Most challenging thing was knowing how worried my family was, especially my children. I’ve always been a positive person albeit cautious but I think this experience made me more ‘live in moment’, to the point my partner of 9 years and I bought a campervan (which is something we’d talked about a lot before but never got round to).
Are there specific moments or experiences in your cancer journey that stand out to you, which you would like depicted in the sculpture?
What stands out to me is that I really don’t care what I looked like as long as I was alive and feeling well.
How has your perspective on life and your own identity evolved since your diagnosis?
Perspective on life: don’t put things off, enjoy every moment however simple they might be.
In what ways do you feel bravery has played a role in your cancer journey? Are there particular instances of courage that you’d like represented?
I won’t use the word ‘brave’, to me it was more a matter of doing what had to be done to survive. With two teenagers in the house it was a matter of, not yet I’m too busy to die!
How do you want the world to see you through this sculpture? What part of your reality, character, or experience would you like it to emphasise?
I hope my sculpture will show that if you really don’t want to go through more operations than you medically needed, that it is OK to be flat chested – your family/partner will still love YOU.
What has been your source of strength and resilience throughout your journey with breast cancer?
My strength and resilience came from my family and the pure will to live. And of course all the medical staff.
What does being a part of this exhibition mean to you? How do you hope it might impact others who see your sculpture?
To show people not to be afraid of what you may look like and to help future people going through cancer that there are choices.
Is there a specific message or emotion you want to convey to the audience of this exhibition, particularly to those who might be going through a similar experience?
Look after yourself – be selfish if need be and mostly Don’t give up!
How has the ABC community helped you with your journey?
ABC is very important especially for people who don’t have a family to help.