Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Breast Cancer Diagnosis Leads to a Better Life

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Breast Cancer Diagnosis Leads to a Better Life

Article excerpt

Byline: Sharyn O'Neill sharyn.oneill@capnews.com.au

IT was just a routine examination.

It wasn't her first time, and she hadn't noticed anything unusual.

But Lorelle Parker knew when she received a call to go back for a follow-up mammogram, and to bring someone with her, the news wasn't going to be good.

The news was breast cancer, and just three days later the Rockhampton mum was lining up for surgery.

"I was shattered," Lorelle said.

"I have three daughters and I just wanted to be here for them."

Lorelle, now aged 57, said her mother had died from bowel cancer, and her grandmother from breast cancer, while they were both in their 70s, so she didn't expect to hear news like that at her age.

That was in May 2010, and Lorelle admits the following months were dark times.

"People are around you but you feel like you are all alone, in a pit," she said.

Her advice to family and friends of cancer patients is to be there for their loved ones, but also give them the space they need to deal with things.

Lorelle found chemotherapy made her aggravated easily, so she also advised loved ones not to take things personally.

"I think it is harder for family and those closest to you," she said.

In between chemotherapy treatments, managing her business, Big G's Takeaway and Catering, was Lorelle's saviour.

"It gave me some normality," she said.

Part of that 'normality' was not wanting anyone to know what she was going through.

"I didn't want the negativity, the negative energy; I didn't want 'poor Lorelle'."

Admitting to being in denial, Lorelle wanted instead to just get on with life, even if it meant pretending it wasn't happening.

"I could feel normal; I could go to work and pretend there was nothing wrong."

Because of the treatment she lost her hair, but just wore a turban and continued to keep herself busy.

"I didn't have time to look in the mirror," she said.

Lorelle credits a nurse in Brisbane with helping her through one of her hardest times, when she was at rock bottom in her emotional strength. …

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