The end of Haidee Jackson six-year journey with breast cancer is just ahead of her.
The mum of four completed treatment at the PA Hospital in 2019 after discovering a lump on her left nipple that ended up being nothing but led to her cancer diagnosis in 2016, which would be diagnosed a year later as HER2 Positive Breast Cancer.
Her treatment regime included multiple surgeries including a mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and hormone therapy. Follow up appointments to have her portacath flushed every six to eight weeks have also been under the care of the PA ever since.
Now Haidee who is already considered cancer free, can see the light at the end of a long tunnel with one final reconstructive surgery, tattooing and a final portacath appointment remaining. Once all her PA appointments are completed Haidee will only have to get yearly mammograms and check-ups.
Initially wanting to go through her journey alone, Haidee eventually decided to share her diagnosis with family and friends and the supporters of the PA Research Foundation through the charity’s breast cancer initiative Project Pink. Her decision to share her story was motivated by her desire to raise awareness that breast cancer can happen to anyone, adding that she has found the process both cathartic and rewarding.
“When I was first diagnosed, I had thought I’m not going to tell anybody I’m just going to get the treatment done and move on with my life but speaking about it and raising awareness is so important because of the potential to help others and why wouldn’t you want to do that,” she said.
“Maybe being a little bit younger than a lot of the ladies doing treatment it makes people stop and think well she is a bit younger and is closer to my age so I should probably take this more seriously.
“When you are younger everyone thinks it is not going to happen to them so raising awareness is crucial.
“I think you should do anything to help another person if you can and it has been good to be a part of the campaign.
“Even with my friends and family, I’ve said it happened to me so it could happen to you as well, so be vigilant and do all your checks, and get your yearly mammograms.”
As well as encouraging people to be more diligent in checking for lumps and getting mammograms, she has found hope for others still undergoing treatment in the funds raised and the research made possible by Project Pink.
“It’s always nice to see people doing well post treatment, but sadly there’s also the reality of those people who unfortunately don’t do so well and pass away, which is why research and fundraising through campaigns like Project Pink is so important,” she said.
Haidee said everything she has gone through since first noticing the lump has given her a new lease on life and a fresh perspective. She has even launched a new venture, interior styling, furniture and homewares business Style and Error in the Bayside suburb of Manly.
Haidee has begun a new retail business venture in the bayside suburb of Manly called Style and Error.
“It is an exciting time, breast cancer has really made me into such a positive person, pre-cancer I may have doubted myself but now my attitude is like you don’t know when it could be all over so do everything you want to do. I’m always up for a challenge and something new,” Haidee said.
“Elliott my daughter loves a cuddle after waking up before we start our day and sometimes, I’ll be racing to get ready and out the door and I think no I don’t have time we’ve got to get moving. Then I stop and think what does it matter if I just take three more minutes to have a cuddle with her, it makes me happy and it makes her happy.
“Having cancer has definitely made me think about the little things in life and put importance on them.
“The things that I annoy you, like getting groceries or filling the car up with petrol, I used to hate doing those things but now I just flip it and be grateful that I’ve got a car to put petrol in and money for groceries.
“It’s definitely taught me to just slow down and appreciate everything.”
With her final surgery coming up in September Haidee will fondly remember all those who cared for at the PA during her treatment.
“Juanita the breast cancer nurse at the PA is always amazing. But lots of the nurses and even the admin staff that remember you still years later, they are all kind and personable,” she said.
“The staff of the PA are like a warm hug all the time you’re there and I’ll miss seeing them to be honest.”
You can donate to help more women like Haidee to beat breast cancer here.