WWhereas I awaited the outcomes of a biopsy on a suspicious lump in my breast, I used to be doing an modifying shift on the sports activities desk at Guardian Australia. Soccer author Samantha Lewis ran a narrative about Melbourne Metropolis and New Zealand participant Rebekah Stott about her Hodgkin’s lymphoma analysis and therapy. At first I wasn’t positive this was a narrative I ought to be coping with at this level, however studying it made me really feel extra comfy. For a very long time, girls’s sports activities had been my dwelling, and right here was a narrative of somebody in that group who had been by way of one thing comparable. That was my first signal that being a part of this group can be my saving grace.
A bit of over every week later, I acquired a telephone name that modified my life. It was a singular expertise whenever you had been identified with most cancers through the closing. As an alternative of sitting head to head with my GP who has cared for me for 10 years, I used to be crouched within the nook of our unit’s shared yard once I heard the information concerning the telehealth appointment – attempting to get sufficient reception to listen to. physician whereas nonetheless sustaining some privateness.
Regardless of having no household historical past or danger components, the lump turned out to be breast most cancers and all the things from then on was a whirlwind. 9 months later, I am nonetheless unsure I’ve processed precisely what occurred to me, I simply put my head down and did no matter I wanted to do to get by way of it. There did not appear to be another selection – every week later I went in for surgical procedure, then every week later I discovered that extra surgical procedure was wanted because the most cancers had unfold additional than we had thought. It additionally meant I could not keep away from chemo, in order that was it, adopted carefully by radiation.
All this was, after all, complemented by the continued penalties of the pandemic. There have been no guests on the hospital whereas I used to be recovering from surgical procedure, nor at any of my early appointments. However regardless of all that, I by no means felt fairly alone. After all I had the assist of my unbelievable husband, household and mates – I knew they had been there for me and I could not have performed it with out them.
However I additionally determined to share my story on social media as a result of I by no means imagined that I might get breast most cancers. I wished folks to be alert to the chance and keep alert with the checks, and I knew that always one of the simplest ways to ship such messages is thru private tales.
Inside hours of sharing my story on-line, I used to be overwhelmed with love and assist that got here flooding again to me – particularly from the ladies’s sports activities group. I acquired messages, items and flowers from all around the nation. From mates, colleagues and sports activities followers to skilled athletes, golf equipment and nationwide organisations, this group rallied round me in methods I by no means anticipated.
It is a group I have been part of since I first acquired entry to the web and located individuals who beloved volleyball as a lot as I did. From there, snowballs advanced into cricket, rugby league, AFLW and soccer – our particular person communities of passionate followers discovered one another, interwoven and discovered to like one another’s sports activities too. For many people who love girls’s sports activities, the typically poisonous world of Twitter is our dwelling, it is the place we discovered one another and have created heat, secure corners to share our love.
Many individuals on this group I’ve by no means met. We’re unfold throughout the nation, even the world, however we discuss and share our tales virtually every single day. These are folks I care deeply about, and I used to be shocked and overjoyed to search out that they care about me simply as a lot.
This impressed me a lot that I made them an integral a part of my chemotherapy course of. Due to the fixed restrictions, I could not all the time have a assist individual with me for these lengthy, typically painful, and all the time boring infusion periods. The nurses had been nice however busy and I typically spent a number of hours alone in my little cubicle watching the site visitors on Missenden Street. And so I considered tips on how to deliver my group with me. I made a collaborative playlist and requested everybody so as to add a tune to it – one thing to assist me get by way of therapy. Many of those songs had been associated to reminiscences we shared of girls’s sporting occasions—Taylor Swift songs. Shake it off which lined each inch of the 2015 Volleyball World Cup for Lorde Inexperienced mild which introduced again reminiscences of working alongside the 2018 Commonwealth Video games and Katy Perry To roar which took me proper again to the 2020 World T20 last on the MCG.
I additionally wore a girls’s sports activities crew jersey to each chemo session. Everybody got here with their very own tales and feelings. In some ways, most cancers therapy took me again to my childhood—I grew to become way more dependent than I favored and wanted tales to get me by way of. As a longtime fangirl, high feminine athletes are my superheroes. As a lot as a baby would possibly gown up as Elsa or Spiderman to assist them by way of chemotherapy, I dressed up as my heroes and channeled the fierce dedication of Alex Blackwell and Nat Medhurst, the unbelievable resilience, coronary heart and energy of Ash Brazill and Amy Parmenter. Energy and Management by Hannah Darlington and Sharelle McMahon and Kezie Apps and Emma Tonegato.
It hasn’t been a straightforward 9 months, and whereas the worst is hopefully over, most cancers has develop into part of my life story that may stay lengthy after the scans are clear. Whereas it is by no means one thing I did not need or count on, I take silver linings wherever I can discover them. And having the complete girls’s sports activities group behind me and saying, “Right here in the event you want me,” might be the very best silver lining ever.