Research saving a single mum’s life.
When teacher and loving mother-of-three, Nicky Welch had her very first mammogram at 44-years-old, she never thought she would be diagnosed with breast cancer.
Every two years the Breast Cancer Screen SA bus would visit Port Pirie in South Australia. In early July 2017, Nicky had a feeling she should get a mammogram.
“Something in me told me to get it done and I thought I’m going to get into the routine of getting checked. In late July I got the call and had to go down and have biopsies. After two biopsies they confirmed I had two tumours which were both cancerous,” Nicky said.
Nicky was diagnosed with HER 2 Positive breast cancer, a type of cancer that is hormone receptive positive and makes up around 80 per cent of all breast cancers. Thanks to ongoing research there are effective treatment methods for this type of cancer.
“When I was first diagnosed I was a wreck and on edge because of the waiting. I remember the doctor was shaking telling me and I held it in together in the office, but I cried for the next 24 hours. You just instantly think you’re going to die because you don’t know much information and it’s just overwhelming.”
For Nicky’s young family, the news was even more difficult.
“My 11-year-old son Noah has autism and an anxiety disorder. He didn’t take it too well and thought I was going to die instantly. I just tried to keep going and didn’t let him or my nine-year-old daughter Sophie see when I wasn’t feeling well. They often asked me ‘are you going to die mum? What’s going to happen when you die mum?’, but I know I’ve been really lucky that I caught this early on and received treatment.”
Since her diagnosis, Nicky has had to travel from her home in Port Pirie to Adelaide multiple times for a full mastectomy, breast reconstruction, radiotherapy and other appointments which hasn’t been easy on her children and 11-month-old grandchild.
Fast-forward to 2018 and Nicky has one more procedure ahead of her, and will be continuing treatment (tamoxifen) for the next five years along with regular check-ups.
She remains grateful and passionate about early detection education and supporting the lifesaving research that is the reason she is here today.
“I used to worry about everything, but it’s made me appreciate life and stop worrying about things I can’t control. I do the best I can, and I realise how lucky I am that I’ve been given a second chance. I don’t have time to wallow in it, I just have to get on with it.”
Your support of Australian Breast Cancer Research enables our passionate researchers to continue preventing and finding treatments for breast cancer and save more lives like Nicky’s.
“Research is so important, especially for my children, daughters and grandchild. I can see the huge changes from when I’ve known relatives that have passed from breast cancer. Everything from the upgraded state-of-the-art equipment, new trials and new medications.”
It is thanks to medical research Nicky’s cancer was detected early and she could receive effective treatment, saving her life.