Martine moved to Sydney in 2014 and in May 2021, her life change drastically for the worse. Martine and her fiancé, Sean were in Hamilton Island, celebrating what was supposed to be her second wedding date which was cancelled due to covid 19. At the young age of 29, Martine discovered two lumps in her breast. She was diagnosed with breast cancer upon her return to Sydney and felt like her world was falling apart. Incredibly lost without her family from Ireland, Martine and her fiancé Sean both were shocked but needed to prepare for what was ahead of them.
“I wanted nothing more than to feel my parents’ arms around me and to hold me. I have never been as vulnerable and fragile in my life and telling my family I had cancer was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I immediately felt every mile that stood between us. I questioned my reasons for living in Australia but the care and treatment available here allowed me to make the easy decision to stay and be treated at Prince of Wales Hospital.”
Going from a healthy, fit, and active life to spending more time in hospital than at home, Martine can speak to the importance of a friendly and comfortable treatment environment made possible through Dry July funds.
“I feel like I have spent more time at the hospital over the last 10 months than I have in my own apartment. It makes such a difference when the hospital is bright, modern, and comfortable. The artwork on the walls is a great distraction when you are waiting for appointments and put you at ease. The chairs in the chemo ward are very comfortable and the tea/coffee facilities are well needed and used often.”
In addition to a comfortable environment Martine appreciates the compassionate Hospital staff becoming her second family during one of the most difficult times.
“The breast cancer nurses; Gill and Jenny have been absolutely outstanding. I would be very lost without their constant support, reassurance, and ability to be available to me for whenever I needed them.
Now focusing on the future, Martine – just like other young females undergoing cancer treatment - had to think about the impact of chemotherapy on her fertility.
“I have undergone fertility treatment to harvest my eggs prior to my chemotherapy so that I can hopefully have a family in the future so this topic is very close to my heart. Fertility services are extremely important to anyone that struggle to have a family however personally I feel like this service is essential for those who have also had to undergo cancer treatment. After the treatment, we seek to resume a normal life and fertility/reproduction is most effected due to the treatment. Allowing cancer survivors to continue life like they had intended is extremely important.
To address the unique challenges of fertility post cancer, funds raised through Dry July 2021 are used to provide reproductive survivorship care for adolescents and young adults, as well as adult cancer patients.