On June the 19th, 2013, I had my first free mammogram with BreastScreen NSW at Gosford Hospital. At 51, I’d been entitled to a free test for over a year. The month before, while I was travelling with my daughter, I’d noticed a dull pain in my left breast. Nothing much. I thought I might have strained a muscle lifting my luggage. When the pain kept recurring I commented to my husband that I should probably have it checked, but I wasn’t particularly worried about it. When the letter came in the mail offering me a free breast screen I thought it was good timing.

On Wednesday the 10th of July 2013 my husband and I were informed that I had a ‘more unusual and aggressive’ triple negative breast cancer. I’d never heard of it. I didn’t even know there were different types of breast cancer. I had three tumours which became four within two weeks. My tumours were doubling in size every three weeks.

Since then I’ve kept writing and learning and sharing my ideas, thoughts and experiences. After neo-adjuvant chemotherapy, two ‘breast conserving’ surgeries, and six weeks of radiation therapy my one year scans detected something suspicious and pathology post surgically picked up 1mm invasive cancer. On the 8th of August 2014 I had a bilateral mastectomy.

My focus now is on staying well, staying on top of the research into triple negative breast cancer and enjoying my life. This is my bonus time. Without a series of very fortunate events I wouldn’t be here at all.

When I started this blog I called it ‘Positive3negative’ because I thought it was important to stay positive during treatment. If you start at the beginning you’ll read all about how I did that. If you’re more interested in prevention or staying well after cancer treatment then skip ahead to the more current posts.

Thank your for joining me. I hope you find some useful advice, inspiration or humour in my writing. It’s always wonderful when someone writes to tell me that they’ve found this blog helpful in their own fight against this horrible disease, or that it’s helped them to understand what a friend or family member has gone through. If I don’t reply it’s because I was busy in the garden, or painting, or otherwise enjoying life.




24 thoughts on “About

  1. Pingback: About | Deep Water

  2. Good Morning Meg …I have just woken up and my first thought was of you 🙂
    Time to do this thing .
    Those of us who have gone before you stand proudly with our flat chests waiting to embrace you into our fold . Sending much love .
    Shanti shanti shanti

    Xxx Karen

  3. Hi Meg,
    I found your blog via a link in BCNA. I had a double mastectomy with no reconstruction early last year so I really appreciate what you have written in your blog. For various reasons I chose to go it alone, so to speak, during my second BC diagnosis and subsequently decision to have a double mastectomy. I mean that unlike 2006 when I was diagnosed with my first BC I didn’t seek out support from other survivors.

    I just wanted to say that you write beautifully. I wish I had your courage and insight. My attention post op has been elsewhere but I am about to ‘write’ about my BC experience(s) for the first time. I am frightened too, by the way. I just wanted you to know that 🙂

    • Hi Tookie,
      Thank you so much for taking the time to pay me that compliment. I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog. I’ve found it really helpful in dealing with my treatment and it’s so great to know that other people are enjoying it.

      All the best for your continued recovery.

      Meg x

  4. You’re such an inspiration meg. I love that you call this your bonus time, when I truly think it’s everyone around you’s bonus time- that they get you in their life for that much longer.
    Love Britt (the student nurse on mcauley <3)

  5. Hi Meg, My BC nurse directed me to your blog today and I have been reading it with delight for the past hour….give or take a break to the bathroom and laundry. Thank you for sharing your positive thoughts and I wish you many more hours in the garden (my favourite place too), painting and whatever brings sunshine to your day 🙂 I too have TNBC (diagnosed in mid July 2014, mastectomy and numerous lymph nodes taken a week later and just had my final chemo 7 days ago with RT to begin early Jan)….I’ve been searching the web for info about TNBC, but so far have not found a site to satisfy my general inquiry. Other ladies I have met have other BC but I am interested in TNBC and what lies ahead. Any suggestions would be much appreciated….perhaps my nanna brain is not searching in the correct place!! Thanks again for your beautiful writings and encouragement to all readers. Ricki 🙂

    • Dear Ricki,
      Thank you so much for the positive comments. I started this blog with the hope that it would help other women and it’s always a delight when someone finds it useful.

      My favourite TNBC resource is the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation in the US. Here’s the link: http://www.tnbcfoundation.org
      They have wonderful information about TNBC including an up to date list of all relevant research. There’s also a help line that you can use to ask any questions. I’ve used them in the past and they were great. They also publish a book of questions and answers about TNBC. I don’t tend to spend a lot of time in the forums because they can often be a case of the blind leading the blind, so to speak, but they have one of those too if you’re interested. The Australian National Breast Cancer Network also have a forum with a group for TNBC and I’ve also found that useful from time to time.

      I think the main thing to keep in mind when you look at anything about TNBC is that statistics include every single person diagnosed, no matter how advanced and no matter what other horrible things they were doing to their bodies. If you’re avoiding alcohol, keeping your weight down, not smoking and staying active then you’ve already greatly improved your odds. I also highly recommend fasting based on the excellent research into its benefits for those of us seeking to avoid further cancer. It can be frightening to read phrases like ‘worse prognosis’ and ‘highly aggressive’ and ‘lower survival rate’. I find it helps to keep in mind that there ARE women alive for many, many years after triple neg. We don’t have to be on the wrong side of the statistics.

      My very best wishes to you and congratulations on finishing chemotherapy. What a relief that is!


  6. Thank you Meg for the web link. I will take time to read it 🙂 It has been really hard to keep active during chemo, it has knocked me more than I imagined. I am only now able to do about 20-30 mins of water based exercises (fortunately we have a pool) each day as the weather has warmed up, then sleep for several hours!! I’m not a drinker (once in a while but certainly not during chemo…why, nothing tastes any good anyway 😦 I don’t smoke but have put on weight/fluid retention and can’t wait for the cocktails to exit this old body to get to back to something like it resembled pre Op!! this groovy granny now has her tats for RT which begin in 3 weeks…oh no, more tired..hahaha LOL
    Keep up your great blogging Meg and happy green thumbs 🙂
    Ricki x

    • I found I became a bit upset about my weight gain during chemo. My daughter wisely said, “Your body is fighting cancer, Mum. Just let it do that for now. The weight will come off later.” She was right. XX

    • Sending you gentle hugs as you move forward. Megs blogs and links were very helpful to me as I moved from one stage to the next. Try not to get overwhelmed by all you read, for now you just need to trust your Drs, be kind to yourself & be as informed as you can manage, you don’t need to know everything now! 💝 Ricki xoxo

      • Thanks Ricki! I think I have been over googling and you are so right – I am going to take a break. Thanks for the hugs. Are you still recovering or are you still in treatment?

  7. Finished treatment few months back & working on my ‘new normal’☺ Having remaining breast off Dec 1 – proactive/preventative surgery…I’m in control now 😄
    Feel free to ask any questions. R 😚🙆💝

    • Congratulations you must feel so proud of yourself getting through. I just found out I start chemo on the 23rd Oct. Really wanted to negotiate my way out of that one but already know that with triple neg that’s the only real option. EEK!

      • My heart goes out to you as I can still remember chemo. but just 1 year on & I’m doing fine :)Do you have good veins, if not, can I recommend asking your Dr/team about a Port-a-cath, http://www.sir.net.au/portacath_pi.html
        It is inserted just under the skin on the chest wall and makes administration simple (and for me far less stressful). My veins collapsed during the 1st chemo as they have never been good so the insertion of the port a cath was ‘heaven’. I hope this is helpful as I didn’t know this info before treatment. My whole episode was very sudden from my ‘feeling’ my lump, seeing GP, biopsy, surgeon and surgery (L mastectomy + all lump nodes taken) = 1 week!! So I didn’t have time to think let alone read much, thankfully I have amazing Drs and support team that I trust 100% .
        I did most of my reading ‘after’ the surgery but then became over loaded as my brain could not cope with it all, that was when my Breast Care Nurse became my go-to, cheer squad and constant companion till this day 🙂 It was she who pointed me to this website for which I will be forever grateful.
        My advice, listen to your body, when it says rest, do it! don’t be afraid to ask for help, including medication offered to you by the chemo team. Accept meals from friends, if you get too many, put them in the freezer for later 🙂 Ignore the housework that doesn’t really need to be done ‘today’. Take time to do something YOU enjoy/feel like. come back here anytime…we are only too happy to ‘walk’ with you…you have many sisters beside you, and you will come out the other side and be amazed at how you view the world differently & in a much more positive way. Gentle hugs. Ricki xx

  8. Hi Meg. I’m a doctor who is involved in the care of patients with breast cancer. I’m still slowly reading through your blog, but have so far found it very insightful. I particularly find it helpful to hear why you have chosen not to have reconstruction. I have also seen how your friendship with Ricki developed through your blog and is very much saddened by her death. You have a gift for writing, and I hope you will continue to do so! Regards Mary

    • Dear Mary,
      Thank you so much for your kind feedback. It is always heartening to know that the writing has been of some benefit, particularly to doctors. I was advised recently that one of the universities is now referring trainee doctors to the site.
      The book I wrote (thanks to Ricki) about dealing with fear of recurrence has been well received and I am currently working on a second book about applying the same techniques to anxiety, depression and PTSD (thanks to encouragement from a lovely local group of psychologists).
      Best wishes and thank you for all that you do for people with breast cancer.

  9. Thank you for your blog. I was also diagnosed with TNBC, stage 3, and am now dealing with a recurrence. We are not too common, us TNBC sisters. All the best to you.

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