Possum’s Pink Morning Tea

My Updates

Friday 29 Oct 10.30 - 12.30 Morning Tea @ Willoughby Park!

Wednesday 27th Oct
You are invited to Possum's Pink Morning Tea this Friday 29 October at the Rotunda at Willoughby Park (off Warrane Rd). from 10.30am! Hope to see you there xoxo

Day 1 down, 24 to go

Tuesday 12th Oct
Radiation Therapy so far so good. I'm wrapped in clingwrap (ok it's a bit more technical than gladwrap). The whole process takes about 15 min so I should be home back at my desk by 9am each day. Overall no big deal.
When I came out of the Radiation room today I saw my oldest (in time not age) friend Monique who was due to go in after me. She is on day 5 of 15. She had a big bunch of flowers for me. Such a sweetie! From preschool, to high school and now doing Radiotherapy together :)

Good news and plan on track..

Monday 11th Oct
I received some good news last week. There were  "no reportable variants detected" in my gene test for BRCA1, BRCA2 and PALB2 which just means that there is no genetic reason why the breast cancer developed. This is good news for my family but also means that Radiotherapy can progress as planned and no further surgery required. Phew!
Radiotherapy starts on Tues 12 Oct for 25 rounds (i.e. 5 weeks).

My Journey so far

Saturday 2nd Oct

Due to family history (especially with mum being diagnosed with Breast Cancer at 42), I have been pretty diligent in having annual checks. At the end of August, following a routine annual mammogram and ultrasound, I was encouraged to have a core biopsy to check a suspicious mass found. The pathology identified an 'invasive ductal carcinoma' and hence began my journey into the world of hospitals, specialists, scans, tests and treatment options for breast cancer.

 

I've had surgery to remove the little nasty sucker plus removal of lymph nodes. I now feel (after 3+ weeks) fully recovered with only a little (10cm) scar as a souvenir. Unfortunately a 2.2mm mass was found in a Level 3 lymph node (which is high up towards my clavicle). This just means the sucker was on the move but does not appear to have spread anywhere else. It puts my diagnosis as “Stage 2” which is still not so bad.  Because of the early detection and size, no chemotherapy is needed but instead radiation therapy and dual endocrine therapy. That treatment plan will greatly reduce the chance of re-occurence.

 

So why do I feel lucky this happened? I feel lucky that;

 

1) It was found so early. The ability to pick up a tiny (6mm) tumour from an ultrasound. So small it can't be felt or seen on a mammogram. Given a Grade 1 classification, if you are going to get Breast Cancer finding something this early means it's very treatable and the prognosis of recovery is high. It's also the stock standard most common Breast cancer (hormone receptor positive) which means very treatable.

 

2) I have access to the most amazing specialists and hospital system - my plan from the beginning was to surround myself by the best surgeon, oncologists and treatment options available. I feel amazed by these incredible doctors and the wonders of modern medicine.

 

3) My support network has been so uplifting - my family and friends have been the BEST and I appreciate all the love, advice, support and offers of help that have come my way.

 

4) My health, while this has thrown a curve ball is now even more a priority, I've had so many scans and now ongoing blood tests and more regular scans etc that I feel like the most tuned up, well maintained and carefully monitored body possible. Plus I've found no other nasties that very grateful for that! I can now even pinpoint all my key arthritis spots!

 

5) Mostly I feel lucky that by sharing my story, I hope that it encourages you all to get checked and don't put off those medical check ups. Early detection and intervention is the key. It makes me very sad that BreastScreen is not operating at the moment (Covid may be a killer but....). BreastScreen is a free mammogram service for any female 40+. It is targeted to 50-75 but you can make an appointment from the age of 40. However in the absence of BreastScreen, just make the effort to get a referral from your GP for a mammogram and ultrasound at any radiology/ imaging centre. Get any other checks done too! Bloods, Skin checks, anything else you may worry about.. JUST DO IT!

 

What's not lucky?

 

The stats are 1 in 7 females will get Breast Cancer (and 1 in 700 males). The sadly means that I am not alone on this journey. I've "fortunately" been able to lean on too many friends and friends of friends (and family members) who have been on a similar journey. Their knowledge, guidance and support has made my experience all the better. I hope that I can give the same back to anyone that has to sadly go on a similar journey. I've lost young friends and family to cancer, it's an awful terrible diagnosis and affects family and friends too. Makes the importance of research, early detection and improved medicine/ treatment all the more vital.

 

What's next?

 

I am waiting on a gene test result (for BRCA gene and others) that may derail my treatment plan. However as it's 90% unlikely to be genetic, the plan is to start 25 rounds of radiation therapy from Oct 12. This equates to 5 weeks (5 days a week). Then ongoing (10 years) of dual endocrine therapy. As the cancer is estrogen and progesterone positive then we need to suppress the hormones. I'm considered young (yay) in this journey so basically I'm going to be forced into menopause with an injection to shut down the ovaries (every 4 weeks) plus a drug called letrozole (or femara). This all feels like the worst part to me but hey let's be honest, I'm very lucky my family is complete and I get to go through a monitored controlled menopause which is on the biologcal cards anyway! The rest of you healthy ladies can do it the normal, self managed, long drawn out way!

 

How can you help?

 

This is the number one question people ask me which melts my heart every time. I'm actually feeling pretty damn good surprisingly. Yes it's been exhausting both physically but especially emotionally but.. (read why do I feel lucky above!).  I'm mostly annoyed my fitness has had to take a back seat and keen to get that back and ramp up the good nutrition to give my body the best fighting chance at managing side effects and the burden of treatment. So you can encourage me to exercise, I love a walk, share with me some good healthy recipes, encourage my more healthy lifestyle - yes I've embraced the alcohol free drinks but don't worry I still want to enjoy myself!

 

You can go get those checks. Don't put anything off. Remember.. JUST DO IT! This week!

 

I'm also encouraging you to donate and support the National Breast Cancer Foundation. I know there are so many good causes and so many cancers and illnesses that don't get as much funding and publicity. But this just affects so many people and any funding goes a long way to achieving 0 deaths from breast cancer. Everyone knows someone affected. An increase in research & technology to fight this all too common disease is the key to making a diagnosis not life threatening.

 

I am so keen to host you at 'Moose Manor' for a morning tea as soon as we are allowed (not long now). I will provide the tea, coffee and goodies. I'm also looking at getting local cafes involved through Breast Cancer Awareness Month so watch this space. However, any small donation via this page will make a big difference and I thank you for your support (of me and the cause!)

Thank you to my Sponsors

$104

Alicia Elsinga

Sending lots of love and support! You can beat this! Lots of Love, Alicia and Tim

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Pj & G

Enormously proud of how you're handling this and also encouraging others to get health checks. Much love

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Janneke Phillips

I am so inspired by your determination and focus. Not only are you sharing your story, you are encouraging others to make sure they get the necessary check ups. I’m on team Poss all the way!! Xxx

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Kristen Wright

We are here for the whole journey with you Poss !

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Priscilla Millner

Lock me in for all the walks! You are such a legend for sharing your story. Love you! xx

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Isterlings

Can’t wait for the morning tea!

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Jenene Davies

You’ve got this Francoise. If your positive attitude can kick this in the butt it’d be gone tomorrow. Sending you big love and hugs from the extended family 💜

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Jung Ah Kim

Thinking of you and admiring how brave you are. Love from Jungah xx

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Amanda Meehan

Poss - always in awe of your ability to see the bright side of life, and your honesty. True grace. Let’s walk xx

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Miriam Rihani

Super proud of you Poss

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Kerry Morante

Sending love and hugs from up north.x

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Kay Jacques

You’ve got this, Poss! Hugs xx

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Annie, Paul And The Boys X

Sending you big hugs - we are here for you in any way you need (and send Fraser to us for a weekend to give you a break)! Much love xxx

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Bec Lawrence

You are an incredible woman Poss. Such an inspiration. I promise to get my checks done. Looking forward to a cuppa a Moose Manor xxx

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Nirelle Tolstoshev

Big hugs x The Tolstys x

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Rose-marie Ballard

Bon courage ❤️‍🩹 Comme toujours tu sais que je suis là. Ta Maman

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Caroline Denyer

You got this Possie. We love you x

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Tammy

So love that you’re doing this! Much love from the McLandsborough’s xxx

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Challis, Rob, Claud And Bella

So much love Francois. Looking forward to lots of walks together back in the hood. Xxx

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Liz Mclaughlin

You are inspiring and I know that your positive attitude, fearless energy and loving family and friends will get you through this - love from the Flavels

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The Liliamacs

You got this Poss!! We’ve got skiing to do once you’re clear!!! We love you xx

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Wendy Chan

Thanks for sharing your story so far Poss. You got this. Love from The Channies xxxx

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Michelle Puhl

Lots of love from all the Puhl’s. Looking forward to seeing you soon. XXX

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Connie Nachabe

Your one of the strongest women we know, you’re got this! Hugs and kisses ❤️

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Georgie Drury

You have got this. Time to kick cancer to the curb.

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Sarah Whitney

Brilliant work Poss on raising awareness. Sorry you have had to experience it yourself but sounds like you are on the right path to recovery x

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Rob Mcgovern

hi Possie... good luck with this fight

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Lesley Speechley/glen Mcguren

Love your positive attitude Francoise, and your call for awareness to others. Wishing you a speedy recovery. Love Glen and Lesley xx

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Cath Lloyd

Thank you for sharing all of this❤️

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Alison Rodericks

Your positivity has always been amazing, Poss! Sending you hugs and healing.💗

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Stephanie Iredale

You’ll be surprised as I am that in NL they only start checking at 50! I’ve been turned away from doctors when I’ve asked for a check up. So different. So wrong. I’m glad you got this early. Thinking of you!!!

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Anita Mcdonnell

Thank you for sharing Poss. You are an amazing strong and inspirational woman - you've got this. Love from the McDonnells xxxx

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Killara Nieland

Love you Poss, hope treatment going ok 👍, you’ve got this.

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Donna Worthington

It really doesn't know who it's dealing with! Go kick its ass girl. Sending you love and life force 😙❤️

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Hoody

You’ve got this Poss!

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Amy Spanton

Poss, thanks for sharing your story! I’m so grateful that you caught it early and you’re getting all the care you need. Sending love xx

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Karen Wiles

I am sorry to read you are going through this 😞 I donate regularly to this charity as it’s close to my heart, as my mum and her sister both have had breast cancer, so I am regularly checked at the Sydney Breast Clinic and find myself ‘holding my breath’ during every checkup. But it’s a MUST and good on you for sharing your story. xxxx

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Charlotte Nash

You can do this Poss!! Thinking of you all and sending healing vibes xxx

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Emma Wells

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Anastasia And Jason Martinez

We are so sorry to hear this. Sending you lots of love. Anastasia and Jase xox

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Janine Webster

You’ve got this Poss!

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Jennie Brandenburg

It’s truly inspiring to read your story Francoise and I have no doubt you will be back fighting fit and embracing everything life has to offer in no time. X

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Amands Bock

Hoping to see you back on the soccer pitch soon!

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Sam Aarons

Get this behind you and get back on those skis soon!

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Aimee Mckechnie

You’ve got this but also know you’re not alone. There’s so many people you can lean on if needed, me included. I love that you have a solid plan xx

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Kathryn Fox

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Dimity Pinto

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Andrea Lawson

Good on you for sharing all of this. You got this beat hands down. Much love

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Claudine Watson Kyme

Go Possum!

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Nick & Corinne Burrough

So pleased you are turning your challenge into raising awareness for others. You are doing so well and have the right positive attitude. Breast cancer chose the wrong person to mess with. Please lean on me as needed. Looking forward to Possum’s Pink Morning Tea. Corinne x