At 6 months pregnant with her son, Hudson, Alana was conducting a routine self-check when she found a small lump on her breast. In a check-up with her obstetrician, hormonal changes were blamed for the cause of the lump. But, once her baby was born and after months with no improvement, Alana knew something wasn’t right, despite being repeatedly assured that the lump was just a blocked milk duct. By now, the mass in Alana’s breast was so painful and large that she could see it puckering her skin.
It had been 7 months since she found the lump, and after speaking to her sister – a women’s oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist – Alana knew she had to be an advocate for her own health.
The day after visiting a new breast clinic in her area, Alana was diagnosed with an 11cm mass of predominantly invasive ductal carcinoma in situ. After months of being told to ‘wait and see’, Alana now had to undergo a mastectomy, 8 months of chemo, 5 weeks of radiation, a year of immunotherapy, and is now on medication for the foreseeable future.
As a new mum, Alana’s diagnosis and treatment changed everything - from the way she could parent to her relationship, career, and body. For Alana, her support network was vital to her recovery, giving her the time she needed to rest and recover as she learnt to accept help, even when it felt against her nature.