Stephenie's Story - Personal stories • Breast Cancer Foundation NZ

Stephenie's Story

Stephenie and Bob's life has involved a great deal of moving around – so much that Stephenie never got into the mammogram habit. Last year, at 77, a large tumour in her breast burst through Stephenie’s skin.

“I knew the lump was there but I’d ignored it – I didn’t think it was cancer,” she says. “I always thought, you’re going to die of a heart attack, or old age. You think you’re past breast cancer.”

The tumour was so large, Stephenie needed drug treatment to shrink it before she could have surgery. Five months later, she had her breast and the lymph nodes where the cancer had spread, removed in a mastectomy. That was followed by radiation, after which she started on a five-year course of the anti-hormone drug, Letrazole. “I coped with the radiation very well, and I’m doing fairly well with the Letrazole, though I sometimes have a little light-headedness,” she says.

Now 78, Stephenie keeps as fit as she can. “I walk up to 50 kilometres a week, and I haven’t really had a day off, other than the five days I was in hospital,” she says. “I’m absolutely thrilled with the treatment I’ve had, right from the start, and now I’ve got the movement back in my arm pretty much totally.”