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The Rock-itt : July 2011
Last month you were introduced to Julie Knox, a courageous woman who is taking on a fight against the dreaded disease breast cancer, which began in 2009. This month Julie takes over the reins as she tells her story in her own words. On9 th Novem ber 2009, I had just gone to bed and for some unknown reason, felt compelled to check my right breast. I was shocked, when I felt a large rock hard lump. I knew straight away that I was in trouble and went and told my husband, Ed. I could tell by his face that he thought the same thing. My heart was thumping and I could not sleep at all that night. The next day I went to my G.P. who sent me for a mammogram and an ultrasound and I was informed by the radiologist that it was cancer. I went back and had a biopsy to confirm this. After the diagnoses were confirmed, the next step was to see a surgeon. My sister came with me for moral support and I also felt that I needed her to rem ember all the information being thrown at me. A female surgeon was recommended to me and I found her not only very professional, but compassionate and understanding. More importantly than this was the fact that she was never in a rush, being happy to spend whatever time it took for me to understand my options. I decided that a modified, radical right mastectomy was my best option because of the size and grade of the cancer. On 20th November, I was admitted to hospital as prepared as I could be, but understandably, very nervous. My husband, Ed, and my son and daughter were there with m e and they had quite a long wait before they were allowed to see me. I was pretty positive about the future because I thought that I would have the surgery, recover, and then life could return to normal. I said to myself that many others have been through this and continued to live active normal lives, so why should I be any different. My recovery was slow and steady and I had plenty of support from the breast care nurse and my family, and I was looking forward to going home...... how wrong I was. During my recovery from surgery the pathology results came back and they were not good. All of my thirty six lymph nodes were positive for HER2 positive breast cancer. My doctor then explained to m e that I would need chemotherapy followed by radiotherapy. The word chemotherapy terrified me and it was at this stage, I felt that control of my life was being taken out of my hands; life was going full steam ahead without me driving. Everything seemed to be happening so fast and because you are still in shock, you never consider that you do not necessarily have to do what your doctors tell you to. I was terrified of chem otherapy for two reasons. The first reason was that I have always been very sensitive to drugs of any sort and tried to avoid them. I hated the thought of all these toxins going into my body with the purpose of breaking down my immune system. The second reason was that my best friend Heather had died of breast cancer in 1994. W e had been friends since we were twelve years old. Heather had never married, choosing to live alone and we (her friends) supported her through her terrible nightmare. I would take her to each appointment and every chemo treatment and it was terrible to watch her suffer. They have much better drugs now to control the nausea and the bad side effects but I have remembered that tortuous tim e with Heather and those m emories came flooding back to me now that is was my turn. Before my chem otherapy could start I needed to have a porta-cath inserted into my chest because my veins were very hard to find. For me this was a very painful procedure, even more painful than my mastectomy. I eventually had my first chemo treatment on 25th January 2010. Join us once more in our August issue of The Rock-itt, as Julie continues her story of the continuing battle to beat breast cancer which has changed her family’s and her life so radically over the past 2 years. My Fight with Breast Cancer A serialised true account of one woman’s struggle to beat the odds By Julie Knox Julie and her daughter s, Rachel and Kimber ly Julie's best friend, Heather