Cara’s Story

Cara Gosatti and Archie

On the 9th of May 2018 I was diagnosed with stage 2a grade 3, triple positive breast cancer.

I was 29 years old. My story started with me living in Dubai, where I had been for the past five years, and I was about to move home to Perth to start a life with my partner. Two weeks before I left I was having a shower and randomly felt a lump under my arm.

When I moved home, my GP sent me for an ultrasound, all the while assuring me that due to my age I had nothing to worry about. Fast forward one week, one ultrasound, one core needle biopsy, one mammogram later – and I heard the word I never thought was coming – Cancer. I did eight rounds of chemotherapy over four months and I finished three weeks before my 30th birthday. I then had a double mastectomy two weeks after I turned 30. I recently finished 18 months of Herceptin in November 2019, and this week I have started a trial for the drug Neratinib.

I feel so lucky to have received amazing care and treatment from both Professor Arlene Chan and Dr Peter Willsher. Prof. Chan is always so patient when I spend an hour in her office each visit running through all that I had read on ‘Dr Google’.

When I was first diagnosed, I felt like my world was falling apart, and I was angry. Statistically speaking, this shouldn’t have happened to me, and it felt so unfair that it had. I feared for my future, I feared I would never be a mum, grow old with my partner, enjoy my life. I feel that so many people who get diagnosed say that cancer teaches them to appreciate life, but I already appreciated my life and lived my life to the extreme! I remember wondering if I would ever feel so carefree again that I would sing in the shower, or if I would ever really laugh at something again, and at my hardest times after diagnosis none of this felt possible. Then, as time moves forward, you adjust to the new normal, and life goes on. I remember finding myself laughing at things again, and one day I was driving down the freeway with my music blaring, and I found myself singing and dancing in the car. I remember stopping and realising how far I had come from when things seemed so dark.

I often found myself looking for answers to why this all happened and what have I gotten from my cancer diagnosis. Besides my beautiful puppy Archie, who was bought for me as I started chemotherapy (I highly recommend getting a cancer puppy), there are three things cancer has taught me:

  1. Life is too damn short. I have no time for hearing first world problems anymore. Surround yourself with real people who are all about having fun, loving life and not sweating the small stuff. Take that trip, hug your loved ones and appreciate your life. You are so blessed to be on this Earth, and if you have your health you have everything!
  2. That you will discover who your friends are, but also what you want in your friends. Some people who have already faced cancer in their lives might find it hard to support you, and that’s something you learn to understand. Then there are the friends who can’t understand the changed you as you are moving on with your life, or who constantly feed you toxic positivity which is not supportiv People who haven’t experienced cancer themselves will never really understand what you are going through, that’s where you find yourself some cancer friends. I met one at a young support group, and one in Arlene’s waiting room, and these girls are amazing, they get you and it’s a friendship like nothing else!
  3. If you are young like me, make sure you find an even wider support base so you don’t feel so alon The cancer club is one that nobody wants to be a part of, but everyone in it makes it so much better. I found a huge community on Instagram, although sometimes it gets a bit much so you have to be careful what content you follow. A really great account for young people is “the cancer patient”, a satirical view of life as a cancer patient. It’s full of cancer memes and to be honest they are hilarious. My motto in life is if you’re not laughing you will probably end up crying, and I know which one I would rather be doing!!

Cara Gosatti, patient

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