By Shelby Brooks
The Cancer Council’s Daffodil Day Appeal is being held online all month to raise funds for life-saving cancer research. The appeal will culminate August 28.
FISH CREEK’S Megan Vuillermin was just 25 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Nearly 25 years on, and Megan has mixed emotions about the experience.
“Sometimes it feels like it didn’t even happen to me,” she said.
But recently watching an episode of the TV show Breaking Bad, Megan said she felt a flood of memories return.
“I couldn’t watch it. I just thought ‘Oh my God I remember sitting in the room like that with all the tubes in, vomiting’,” Megan said.
“There are a lot of triggers that used to be bad, but I just notice now, I guess that comes with the passage of time.”
It was a shock to 25-year-old Megan when she found out she had cancer.
“I didn’t know I was unwell- you don’t think of that at that age,” she said.
Megan explained she had a friend who at the time was trying to conceive and kept mentioning her tender breasts.
“Because she kept saying it over and over, on that particular night I was feeling my breast and thought ‘what’s that little lump?’,” she said.
After calling her mother, Megan booked in to see a doctor the following day, who found an even bigger lump.
Five days later and Megan was diagnosed and was having surgery to have them removed.
“It was very, very quick,” Megan said.
At that point in time, Megan’s family had no history of breast cancer.
“Unfortunately, I was the first in the family in what would be family history of breast cancer,” she said.
All the women in Megan’s family that have been diagnosed with breast cancer are from her father’s side, all do not have the BRCA gene and all, bar one, were diagnosed pre-menopause.
“None of it makes sense. Doctors say there’s a high chance we share a gene we haven’t discovered yet that is linked to breast cancer,” Megan said.
Five years into remission and doctors discovered Megan had two pituitary tumours and told she would never have kids.
“But now I have two children!” Megan said.
“Doctors might be able to give you stats but they don’t know your body- it shows you can’t always believe the death sentence.”
Megan said she was concerned women may be letting their concerns slide away and not seeking medical advice during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think there’s a fear around it- people think ‘doctors are busy enough with COVID, I’ll be alright’, when normally they might have jumped to see a doctor,” she said.
“There is more awareness around cancer in young people now and more support but still that belief that it couldn’t happen to me, but it can, it can happen to anyone.”
Anyone who is affected by cancer and worried about the current situation surrounding COVID-19 can call Cancer Council’s information and support line 13 11 20.