Wendy’s Story – “trust your gut and never stop asking questions”

08 Apr 2022

I felt so guilty! 

Even after undergoing a wide excision, full hysterectomy, bilateral mastectomy and 4 months of tissue expanders, Wendy still feels like she hasn’t endured as much as others. 

Perhaps she’s right. Especially when you compare it to so many who haven’t been as fortunate as she was to find out so early that her MRI results showed high grade DCIS. But what if she hadn’t? What if she didn’t trust her instinct to seek a second medical opinion? What if her friend hadn’t urged her to keep looking for answers?

What if her mother had never found out that she was a carrier of the BRCA2 gene mutation? What if she didn’t think to start looking into her family history? Thankfully for Wendy and her family, she doesn’t have to find out the answers to these questions. 

A thunderstorm of emotions come rolling through your heart and mind when dealing with a cancer diagnosis. Surprisingly, guilt can be a common one. It’s like the Mike Tyson of feelings. Large, intimidating and can knock you out in a second. But the thing about guilt is, it takes a lot of strength to let it go and to stand up to it. Every battle is real, whether you’ve been fighting for one year or for ten, your story is important. And Wendy’s story certainly is. 

Ordinarily, she’s not one to worry but when the results of a routine mammogram didn’t reveal anything concerning, Wendy wasn’t convinced. It was this attuned intuition that has served her well throughout her recovery journey. As she navigated her way from her initial appointment through to her eventual mastectomy, she always trusted her intuition.  And that’s the thing with emotions. Sometimes they exist to help us deal with life’s lessons and sometimes they exist to give us warning. A warning that something’s not right. This has been Wendy’s greatest lesson – to always trust your gut and never stop asking questions. Questions about your health and the history of your family’s health. Without this, perhaps she may not have been so lucky but she’ll never know.

Today her life looks a little different. She doesn’t delay doctor appointments, she sets her calendar to remind her to conduct regular check-ups and she is sure to ask questions of anyone associated with her health care with the purpose to be better informed. Wendy’s journey is far from over, because she has further investigation about possible lymphoedema, and her reconstructive surgery is yet to be completed but she remains positive and is determined to educate herself. She’s grateful for what she has gained so far from this experience and the lessons that she has learnt and will continue to learn.