Tamara's story - Personal stories • Breast Cancer Foundation NZ

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Tamara's story

My name is Tamara. I'm a daughter, a sister, a niece, a cousin, a granddaughter, an aunty, a friend, a fiancé and also a mum to two beautiful boys.

I want to raise awareness that breast cancer does not discriminate... Any woman of any age can be affected.

I'm 33 and was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was 37 weeks pregnant with my second wee babe.

It was a whirlwind end to a pregnancy after finding the lump in the shower over Easter weekend during lockdown. What followed was probably the most intense couple of weeks of my life...

Ultrasounds and biopsies on my own as we were in Level 4. Then hearing those words you don't ever expect to hear: "I'm sorry but it's not good news... it's cancer."

Then trying to absorb and process this huge curveball life had thrown us; all while trying to keep a toddler entertained at home 24/7 whilst heavily pregnant!! Thanks Covid!

Anyway, I like to approach life with a glass half full kind of attitude and so you know you just get on with it. Only one way to get to the other side of all this treatment and that's to just crack on with things.

I started chemo when Zac was two weeks old and now only have three rounds to go.

I have been so incredibly well supported by amazing friends and family. I also feel very lucky and grateful for all the amazing services and research and support provided by Breast Cancer Foundation NZ so I want to be able to support and give back however I can. I mostly want to raise awareness of breast cancer and promote the importance of doing regular self-checks in younger women. Unfortunately, it won't stop you getting it but it will most definitely be the difference between a good prognosis and a very poor one.

Initially I felt like breast cancer was an uncomfortable topic to be open about. But I think the more we speak about it and the more people see younger women like me affected by it, the more confronting it is and hopefully this will help to make others really understand their own risk and implement self-checks into their weekly routines. Not just a token check every now and again but something that becomes so routine that they never forget to do it. Because I am acutely aware that this is what has saved my life... knowing my normal.

I did the Pink Ribbon Walk this year with lots of my amazing support crew alongside me including my two wee ones. It was beautiful to see the sea of pink and it was such a great atmosphere. I was very lucky to have lots of my support crew walking with me and we definitely all want to participate every year from now on.

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