Hi there! :)

kate pic

Hi, I’m Kate! I’m a 37 year-old Mandarin teacher living a great life. I have three beautiful kids and a rad husband. On December 5th, 2014, I unwittingly became a Breast Cancer patient too.

I’m trying to make sense of this new diagnosis by blogging about my experiences and connecting with others.

MY STATS:

* Discovered lump in right armpit. Diagnosed 3 days later asย Right Breast combination ILC/IDC (Invasive Lobular Carcinoma & Invasive Ductal Carcinoma) Tumour – 7cm, Grade 2, with additional satellite tumours, DCIS (Ductal Carcinoma In Situ) and Paget’s disease in the nipple found post-mastectomy. Cancer is ER/PR positive, HER2 positive, Stage 3C

* Bilateral skin-saving mastectomy, full axilla clearance, 15/21 nodes positive.ย Immediate reconstruction with tissue expanders

* Systemic treatment will include participation in KAITLIN Clinical Trial:

4 cycles of A-C Chemotherapy, plus

12 cycles of Paclitaxel/Docetaxel + Trastuzumab (standard anti-HER2 drug) + Pertuzumab (experimental anti-HER2drug)

Radiotherapy for 6 weeks after A-C Chemo

Hormone therapy (Tamoxifen) for 5-10 years

* Tissue expander exchange surgery sometime in late 2016 or 2017.

22 thoughts on “Hi there! :)

  1. Hey Kate

    Well done for starting your blog. A great way to connect with others and share your journey. Thanks for being so honest.

    Love Sim

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  2. I Kate I wept as I read your blog last night. Those terrible dreams that are leaving such vivid images in your head. Sending love, courage and strength as you prepare for the next big challenge. xxxxx

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  3. Kate – Thinking of you heaps and wishing you well in your full and total recovery. Hoping to visit you soon – Louise E. xx

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    1. Hi Louise,
      Thank you so much for your lovely thoughts and well wishes via mum and here on my blog. This week’s been quite a rough one with chemo starting, but I’m finally starting to feel a bit more like myself now, so a visit this week would be lovely. I’m also hoping to make it back to painting someday soon – we’ll see how the next few weeks go.
      Kate x

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  4. Hi Kate
    I have been thinking of you for 3 days now and wondering what to say. Like so many other families we also have our cancer story.
    I am sorry you are going through this. Be open to all kinds of healing, surround yourself with supportive people and most of all be kind to yourself.
    And keep doing some art- it helps!!
    Karen C – Tuesday morning painter.

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  5. Hi Kate,
    I just came across your blog tonight and hadn’t realised what you have been going through the last month and a half. Incredible. Wishing you all the strength and humour to get you through the rough patches . Big hugs and thinking of you .
    Jools ( kavs mum)

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  6. Kate you are an adored daughter, wife, mother, sister, daughter in law, sister in law and friend of many. You are a beautiful, attractive and intelligent woman. You have many talents Kate but there’s one thing about you that is rare……
    You have a gift that gives other people hope. We often don’t know exactly why we are here until our own person tragedy engulfs us. I love your blog. Many, many people live your blog. Please keep writing, you are so inspirational to me. My mum has cancer. We have just found out bad news but she talks about you and how amazing you are. You give my mum hope. It’s that fighting spirit that I’m sure when you think you have nothing left you surprise yourself how you can rise from the ashes and conquer another day.
    Never underestimate how powerful you are Kate. To give people hope is to give them a life force. I wish you love and peace and healing energy and I want to thank you. Xxxxxx Michelle

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    1. Hi Michelle,
      WOW! Just WOW! What an absolutely beautiful message. Thank you so much for taking the time to write that. It was lovely to read. I’m sorry to hear your mum is going through cancer treatment too. This horrible disease affects too many of us. I don’t feel any stronger than the next person, but I’m trying to write about my journey as honestly as I can, and if my words are appreciated by others while being cathartic for me, that makes me really happy.
      Thanks so very much. I wish you and your mum, and your whole family much love.
      Kate x

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  7. Hey Kate,
    I am so glad that Leunig bought us to each other’s blogs. You are on quite a journey, reading this post I sat with my mouth open, head shaking and then I grinned and yelled Go Kate!!! Wishing you wellness and strength for each step on this little adventure that none of us ask for, but that we are strong enough to endure.
    Love,
    ๐Ÿ™‚
    Sus
    xo

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  8. Loving your blog so far! Love the name, love your humour and I love how your personality shines through in your writing.
    Really looking forward to keeping up to date on your progress.
    Sending love. xx

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    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to read it and sending me your thoughts. I really love getting comments from my readers and read every one. It buoys me to write more.
      Kate

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  9. Hi Kate,

    I was in Leah’s year at IGGS. A couple of girls who I am friends with on FB have shared your blog. I have read a couple of them and they have really upset me. In May 2014, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I have spent the last 12 months undergoing surgery, chemo, radiation, more surgery. I am now on Tamoxifen. Our journeys have been very similar – no family history, we both have young children, our worlds turned upside down. The last post was very upsetting because I know how dark those chemo days can be. I had three big lows and one of them was during chemo. It is relentless and you feel like you are existing and not living. Depending on which drug they are giving you, you either feel like you have the worst hangover in history (that lasts for days/weeks) or your mouth tastes dead, your nails turn grey (if you get lazy and don’t put on nail polish) and the chemo nurses tell you your fingernails will fall off if you don’t use ice gloves when they give you chemo (thankfully mine didn’t fall out but it says something about what you are undergoing when your fingernails falling out is a better alternative!). Everyone around you is being ridiculously kind (I felt like I had seen what would happen if I did actually die) and you just want it to be over. And as soon as you start to feel better they poison you again.

    Since I am walking this road 7 months ahead of you, you need to know that it is all downhill after chemo. Radiation is a walk in the park compared to chemo. You become more accepting of your appearance and it starts to return to normal. Your eyebrows grow back (I think its almost worse having no eye brows than no hair because you begin to accept what you look like in caps/wigs but drawn on eyebrows aren’t the same as the real deal). Every day I look in the mirror and hate the reflection I see. My hair is so short and I still don’t feel like me. Last month I had my ovaries removed (another low point). When you feel like things are looking up you get sick again. I got the shingles (thanks to my weakened immune system) the week of my birthday. My mum had organised an afternoon tea for some family and friends as a “yay Kathryn is feeling better” event. My aunt flew down from Sydney, it was going to be lovely. However, we had to cancel it because I was contagious!). I have always been a well person and I hate being the person who is so unwell, being pitied. But having said all that, as a fellow cancer patient said to me “its better than the alternative”. Indeed, I agree.

    Anyway, the point of my ramblings is that I just wanted to let you know that it is going to get better. You will get to go on your holidays and begin a new job and get back into sport. Doing all of these things have made me feel ‘normal’. If you have any questions or ever want to ask me anything about my treatment, I am happy to chat to you (kathrynLbertram@gmail.com). I wish you all the best for the road ahead.

    Kind regards,

    Kathryn Bertram (nee Young)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Kathryn,
      I am so sorry to hear you too have been forced to battle this insidious disease at such a young age. Thank you for reaching out and sharing your story with me. I really love hearing words of encouragement and support from people who have been there and ‘get it’. Treatment has been hard, and while I am glad to be nearing the end of chemo, I have many fears about how I’ll cope beyond the safety net of active treatment.
      There are so many barriers to overcome, so many hidden challenges to face. Thanks for your support. I look forward to hearing from you again some time. Take care!
      Love, Kate x

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