Lauren Brady

FROM MID-NORTH COAST NSW IS A SURVIVOR OF CERVICAL CANCER 

Lauren Brady was only 33 with 3 young children when she was diagnosed with an aggressive cervical cancer.

I’ll never forget the words the doctor said to me on the phone. “Have you got somebody with you?”

I nearly collapsed. I managed to choke out “Please don’t say that. Please don’t say that.” But stopping him saying the words wasn’t going to stop the reality. I ran outside calling to my husband Chad to come to me. And the doctor said the words that I wished with all my heart he wouldn’t: “I’m sorry Lauren. But I need to let you know you have cancer of the cervix.”

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“Please don’t say that. Please don’t say that.”

I couldn’t believe what was being told. I was a mum of three kids – Cooper is 8, Riley, 7, and Chloe is 3. I’d recently gone on a huge health kick – my chocolate addiction was gone and I was eating healthily. We lived a happy, outdoorsy life – I worked in a local pharmacy and in wellness marketing and we run a horse training business. I played soccer regularly. This felt like a kick in the teeth. I just looked at Chad and I shook my head before putting the doctor on speaker. Chad just started to cry. And then the doctor said, “We need to act quickly. It’s a rare, aggressive type. It’s not the normal kind.”

I was only 33.

“What do we need to do? I need to be here for my kids. I need to be here to grow old with my husband.”

“What do we need to do? I need to be here for my kids. I need to be here to grow old with my husband.”

Two days later and I was being barraged with tests. I had grade 3 adenosquamous cervical cancer. All I could think was “How do I get rid of it? How do I get rid of it?” And, “What do we do? I need to be here for my kids. I need to be here to grow old with my husband.”

The doctors told me I’d need a radical hysterectomy – that’s my cervix, my uterus, my ovaries, plus all the surrounding lymph nodes and my pelvic lymph nodes as well. I thought, fine. Do it. Chad and I had talked about more kids – we’d always said if we won the lottery we’d have more – but once I found out I needed this operation I realised that we were so blessed to have the kids we had. I just wanted them to get it out of me.

I had to wait five weeks which was gruelling – every niggle made me think it was spreading further.

I just kept saying to the doctors “I don’t want to die”.

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“The doctors told me I’d need a radical hysterectomy – that’s my cervix, my uterus, my ovaries…”

The hysterectomy in September last year went well, followed by five weeks of radiation and chemo. I’ve been told that it’s unlikely to come back which I keep reminding myself. It was so hard for a while not to think the worst – I’d even imagine family gathered around my bed and thinking that I wouldn’t see them in 12 months time. I’d imagine what would happen if I hadn’t had that pap smear when I had abnormal bleeding. But I do everything I can not to think about that any more.

“If I could say something to other women is please, please don’t neglect your Pap smears.”

“If I could say something to other women is please, please don’t neglect your Pap smears.”

If I could say something to other women is please, please don’t neglect your Pap smears. It’s a moment of discomfort that could save your life. I truly believe it’s the only reason I’m still here.

Lauren is hosting a Girls’ Night In this October to raise much needed funds to help beat women’s cancers.

 

Join Lauren and host your own Girls’ Night In