The Story of Two Sisters United Through Hope

June 09, 2015 5 mins read

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Marina and Giovanna are two sisters that were both diagnosed with breast cancer within six months of each other. They are both lucky enough to have the same wonderful McGrath Ski Breast Cancer Nurse, Tracey, and have generously opened up about their experiences. Keep reading for Marina and Giovanna’s stories.

Giovanna’s Story

The first thing that came to my mind when I was diagnosed with breast cancer was Ellie, my daughter, who was 15. I thought it’s better that it’s me and not her. I asked the doctor to do whatever he had to do because as a single mother I need to be here, to bring her up and watch her get married one day.

Me with my gorgeous daughter Ellie. She was the first thing that came to mind when I was diagnosed.

As soon as I was diagnosed I was lucky to be introduced to a McGrath Breast Care Nurse, Tracey, to support me. The difference was incredible. With Tracey, there was no stress ‘ she organised everything. Tracey took charge and made sure I went to see the best surgeon available, which was wonderful because you don’t know what’s going on most of the time.

I tried to be positive all the way through ‘ I was afraid of the unknown, but it didn’t overwhelm me, having the support of my McGrath Breast Care Nurse and my family got me through.

One day Tracey visited me and found me in tears, it was the first time I’d cried. Suddenly the realisation of what was happening hit me. As a busy mum, I didn’t know how I was I going to keep working. I needed to take six to ten weeks off work for treatment and recovery. How was I going to look after my daughter and find time to get better? But Tracey was there to reassure me and guide me through everything.

Tracey was like a ray of light coming to my front door. Every time I saw her pink shirt at my window I just felt that everything was going to be ok. She was so supportive and positive. I often wondered howmy sister Rosanna got through breast cancer without a breast care nurse, how did we cope before?

Tracey is one in a million. If we didn’t have her, I don’t know how I would have coped. With Tracey I felt safe, there was no judgement, and I felt empowered.

My sister Marina was diagnosed six months after me, I said ‘Don’t worry, you’re going to get Tracey’s support!’

Marina’s story

Last year I had my annual mammogram and had a feeling there was something wrong. Afterwards my breast was swollen and painful so I went to my sister, Giovanna. She put me on the phone to her McGrath Breast Care Nurse, Tracey, straight away. Tracey said it didn’t sound ok and advised me to go for an ultrasound.

My sister Giovanna made sure I got the support I needed.

I thought maybe I’d have a stage one diagnosis, like Giovanna. I couldn’t believe it when the doctor said it was stage three breast cancer ‘ and if it had already spread through my body there might not be anything they could do.I thought I was going to die.

The hardest thing for me was telling my Dad because we are very close. He’d already watched his wife and two daughters go through breast cancer. I said, ‘I really hate that I have to tell you this, but I’ve just been diagnosed with breast cancer too.’ He said to me, ‘Well if you go, then I go.’

Fortunately my sister’s McGrath Breast Care Nurse became mine too. Tracey makes a huge difference, not just for me but for my father too. Knowing that I am being supported brings him hope and reassurance.

When I went to see the surgeon after being told I had breast cancer she said, ‘I don’t like to be the one who has to tell you this, but you’re full of cancer. We’re going to have to hit you with everything we’ve got, and hopefully we can give you 10 years’. My husband was sitting there in absolute shock, I was stunned too.

There were times when I thought I was close to death. I woke up in a lot of pain one morning and I couldn’t go in to work because I was so physically sick and sick with worry too. I was so scared. I remember lying in bed and thinking, ‘What does it all mean in the end? The things we have and work for? What am I going to do?’ I was so overwhelmed by the thought of leaving my boys.

Tracey helped me through ‘ she gave me the confidence to face it all. Her guidance has made the biggest difference and has brought me hope.

I really can’t imagine going through breast cancer without her.

Their experiences are heart wrenching but will show you the difference a McGrath Breast Care Nurse can make. It would mean so much if you would make a generous donation to help fund a McGrath Breast Care Nurse like Tracey. Click here to donate.