SURVIVOR: ‘My doctor told me I didn’t have cancer’
IF CECIL Plains mother-of-seven Tracy Baillie had not seeked a second opinion from her doctor she would be dead.
Now eight years on from her cancer ordeal, Mrs Baillie is hoping her story of persistance inspires other to not only get regular check ups but to keep pushing when all hope seems lost.
“I was about 38 when I found a small lump in my breast when I was in the shower,” Mrs Baillie said.
“My doctor had moved from the surgery he had been at to another one had you had to pay but being a single mother I couldn’t afford it.
“I found a different doctor and I went to him twice in a month about it and he just blamed it on my weight, he wouldn’t even look at it.”
Knowing that something was not right, Mrs Baillie bit the bullet and went to her previous doctor.
“As soon as he touched it, his hand started shaking and said to me ‘it’s not good mate.”
Within days the mother-of-seven was booked in for a mammogram, an ultrasound and a biopsy.
“After all the tests were completed, I’ll never forget it, the doctor came in and said ‘darlin you’ve got the disease.”
“It’s funny actually because my intital thought was ‘oh good I haven’t got cancer I've just got a disease.’
“I managed to get back to my car, rang my mum up and burst into tears and that’s when the roller coaster started.”
According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation website, 14,290 woman were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012 which makes it close to 17,000 a year, with 70 per cent of breast cancers diagnosed in women aged 40-69.
Recalling a heated trip to her oncologist, Mrs Baillie was fed up with the side affects that come along with all the treatment.
By November 2012, Mrs Baillie had her first mastectomy on her right breast and began a gruelling six month battle with chemotherapy.
“People don’t talk about how bad radiotherapy is, it made me very ill,” she said.
“I broke out in all of these blisters, I used to be an avid reader and I could barely read a paragraph.
“About three months in I had sit my kids down and tell them I couldn’t continue with treatment because I was sick all the time.
“My son lived on noodles because I could not get out of bed and feed him, someone had to pick him up and take him to school.
“I had people that wouldn’t hug me because they thought they would catch it.
“But my oncologist took my hand, and I remember her pleading with me to continue and I’m so glad that I did.”
Despite death still knocking at her door, Mrs Baillie is using her time in remission to enjoy the little things in life and using her story to inspire others to get checked.
“I know it sounds silly but in the beginning I tried to not focus on what happened to me, it’s my way of protecting myself,” she said.
“Last year at the biggest morning tea, I actually got up and spoke about my experience and it was really empowering.
“My advice is to someone who may think they have a lump or even the smallest of inkling that something is not right, go and get checked.
“One of my biggest symptoms was that I was tired all the time, I was exhausted.
“Go to a doctor you trust because it’s all about early detection, because it could be a matter of life and death.”
“If you’ve got something to focus on and push the positive thinking I never quit and I never will.”