Ode to Breanna

Co written by Breanna Dennis

As the days go by, I often think back to what I was doing a year ago. So many cancerversaries have passed, especially over Christmas and New year.

Last year on the 12th of January I came across a Facebook post which resonated with me. The post read;

“Wanting to know if there are any Mums on here that are either living with or have previously lived with cancer. Not really after advice, just more motivation from Mums that have had it and survived and still managed to parent along the way. Last year I went from being pregnant one minute to miscarrying at 10 weeks then finding a lump in my breast, got my diagnosis on the first of November, I actually ended up having 6 lumps and 2 affected lymph nodes, I’m nearly half way through 6 months of chemo, I’m completely bald and exhausted. Will undergo double mastectomy (oh did I mention I’m not quite even 30 years old?) And will have radiation. I’m married to my high school sweetheart and we have a beautiful, empowered 3-year old daughter. Not looking for sympathy, I’m really not, but any positive stories I do want to hear.”

I reached out and since this day Breanna and I have been a constant source of comfort and inspiration to each other. Our diagnosis and treatments have been days apart from the beginning, our journeys have been so similar, even down to suffering a miscarriage prior to diagnosis. Sometimes when you are going through something, the only people who completely understand is someone who is going through the exact same thing. That’s what makes this friendship so unique and different, the joint experiences, the same fears and heartbreak despite never having met.

On the 29th October last year, the 1-year anniversary of my diagnosis came around and I launched this blog with So Brave, she wrote,

“I want to introduce you all to Carol…Some of you close to me have heard me talk about her for certain. We both share this week as our first cancerversary. It wasn’t until mid-January this year (2019) sometime when I was about half way through the worst of my chemo, feeling very low and alone and very uncertain about my future, that I made a very hesitant post on a closed group on Facebook called Be My Village. It takes a lot for me to post in closed groups, but I basically put myself out there seeking positive stories about any other Mums with young kids, who had also battled cancer, I really wasn’t looking for sympathy or people to feel sorry for me, just hope.A few people replied, but the reply that took my breath away was Carol’s reply. We not only both had breast cancer, but we were diagnosed the same week, both with triple negative breast cancer we both have children similar in age and we both suffered a pregnancy loss last year prior to our diagnosis, what are the chances of that.We have pretty much talked every day since through messenger, we compared side effects, feelings and thoughts, compared pictures of our post-surgery scars, basically been a virtual shoulder to cry on for each other. We have got to know each other as well as each other’s children and husband’s.Carol is from NSW, and is an ambassador for So Brave, a charity for young breast cancer patients.Now that she has reached her one-year post diagnosis milestone she has established this blog to document her journey from now on, as her and her family depart on the trip of a lifetime around this beautiful country. Which is also going to help us to actually meet each other in person, all because of a tiny little plea for help on social media.Feel free to follow her on her journey as she updates her blog, especially if you have been touched by young breast cancer in some way.”

So, towards Tasmania we travel! Next week we will meet for the first time, have a drink, laugh, watch our kids play, compare our crazy chemo regrowth and chill out because we made it out the other side together! Tune in next week to find out how it goes!

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