The 8th of November, 2016 is a date burned in the memory of busy Brisbane mum of three and law firm partner, Suzy Cairney. Following a routine check-up, this is the day Suzy received her shock breast cancer diagnosis and life became a whirlwind.
“I bumped into a mum from school on the weekend who reminded me to have a screening since another mum we knew had been recently diagnosed. I went in for a routine screening on the Monday and 10 days later, I had a mastectomy,” said Suzy.
“The diagnoses was an absolute shock. Even when they took me into a quiet room and closed the door, the word cancer never crossed my mind. I remember thinking these things happen to other people, not me. I felt healthy and didn’t have any symptoms. Telling the kids was a really difficult thing to face.”
Despite going through six months of chemotherapy, Suzy was committed to keeping her mind and body strong for her children, Lachlan, Catriona and Rohan, who were 12, 10 and six at the time of her diagnoses.
“Part of me felt like pulling the covers over my head and hiding but staying strong for my kids was a driving force. No matter how I was feeling, every single day after my diagnoses I took our dog Angus for a walk and I took up yoga.”
Suzy connected with one of the Mummy’s Wish qualified and experienced support coordinators in early 2017 and appreciated having someone to talk to who understood.
“Mummy’s Wish was fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. It’s a difficult period of life and the perspective and wisdom of others can be so helpful. The people I’ve met through Mummy’s Wish are the people you want to spend your time with. It offers the best network of mums supporting each other.
Mummy’s Wish organises practical support like house cleaning and gardening, and provides care packs including comfort bears, therapeutic books and resources, to help ease the burden for families undergoing treatment.
Mummy’s Wish provided cleaning services to Suzy at a time when it was too difficult for the family to face on top of the trauma of Suzy’s cancer treatment.
“I learnt a lot over that period and one thing I learnt was to learn to accept help. I love the practical support Mummy’s Wish offers and just love the idea of the comfort bears.”
Suzy is now five years in the clear and going wonderfully. She is keen to give back to the Mummy’s Wish network, helping out at recent events and participating in this year’s Dry July.
“I am one of the luckiest people here because I made it through with the support of family, friends and Mummy’s Wish.”