My name’s Beki, I’m 33 years old, and I live in a newly built home in a beautiful little town called Kangarilla in SA with a population of just a few hundred people.

My partner, Alex, and I have been together for nearly 10 years and together we have two beautiful children; a little boy, Lucas, who is two years old and a 12-year-old daughter, Mia.

I work as a residential youth worker in the child protection sector. It’s a tough gig but very rewarding. I love it. I had a pretty rough teenage life, so I can relate to a lot of these kids and I want to be able to help them see that there is light at the end of the tunnel and that you can break the cycle and turn your life around with the right support and motivation.

It’s for this reason that I’m also sharing the story of my cancer experience, so that other mums who are going through something similar know that they’re not alone and they can get the help they need.

I was recently diagnosed with cancer in February of this year, so things are still fresh.

My symptoms started about two years ago, soon after my son was born. His birth was pretty traumatic, for the both of us, with me losing half of the blood out of my body. I had to have a blood transfusion and spend a few days in hospital. It was horrendous.

So, I obviously didn’t feel myself for quite some time after birth. I had a whole variety of symptoms and I put them down to hormones or something from the birth at first. However, as time went on, I thought, no, this isn’t right, I should be starting to feel better, more like myself, and I wasn’t.

I was nauseous on and off, dizzy, experiencing sudden hot sweats that would leave me literally dripping. Then stabbing pain started in my stomach and I would break out with big random bruises all over my stomach.

After about six months of this I went to the doctor and just said, look, something’s going on. I don’t feel right.

I explained all my symptoms and I am so grateful for her because she didn’t just palm it off and go with the easy option of it being just normal afterbirth stuff. She actually said, alright, let’s start the process of elimination. Let’s send you for some tests and see what you don’t have so we can try and find out what’s going on.

That started an 18-month rollercoaster ride of so many different tests, CT scans, ultrasounds, MRI’s, lots of blood tests, all just to try and figure out what’s going on. But everything came back normal.

That’s when my Doctor referred me to a gastro team and I went to have a colonoscopy and endoscopy done, which is when they found the tumour.


As much as you don’t want to hear that diagnosis, it was nice to know that there was something causing all of those symptoms and that we can now put a plan into place to resolve it, because it has been a long ride on that rollercoaster and I just wanted to get off. The worst thing I felt through this entire journey was how frustrating and terrifying the unknown has been.

When I went for the colonoscopy they biopsied a sinister looking polyp, and a week later they told me over the phone that it was cancer and that I was being referred to the colorectal team at Flinders Hospital.

My Doctor was able to download my report and give me more detail about my diagnosis, telling me it was a grade 1 well-differentiated neuroendocrine carcinoma. They had found a 2-3cm tumour in my Ileocecal Valve, that’s the part that joins the large intestine to the small intestine.

She also told me that this would involve surgery and to see the colorectal doctor who would know more. After a few more (and frustrating) follow up appointments with him, missing reports, further scans and a bit of back and forth, I found myself seven weeks later booked in for a right hemicolectomy, which is the removal of the entire right side of my bowel and all the lymph nodes connected to that, along with my appendix, my cecum and my ileocecal valve. I’ll be having my surgery in May.

While I’m looking forward to getting the surgery over with and working towards recovery, I’m actually quite terrified, especially considering the last time I was in hospital for something major I lost half of my blood and me and my son almost died. So, I’m feeling some real anxiety about going in there again.

There’s also the fact that I have to be away from my kids for at least a week, which is really tough. They are my absolute life, and I don’t think I’ve been away from my son longer than 18 hours since he was born!

But I’m trying to stay positive and just put one foot in front of the other, talk down my anxiety and know that I’ll get through it and be okay.

That’s something that has been really hard to deal with, the fear I have of not being okay and leaving my kids without a mum. It breaks me every day to even consider them growing up without me.

My son is too young to know what’s going on, but my daughter, Mia, is old enough to understand and she’s already going through a difficult time having just started at a new high school where she’s trying to make new friends, and now her mum has cancer. I worry about her coming through this unscathed as well.

I have connected with Canteen Australia and she’s now got an app on her phone where she can chat to other kids going through the same thing, which has helped her a lot. She can relate to others and talk to somebody who gets it.

I have also connected with Mummy’s Wish, thanks to a referral from the Cancer Council, and joined their Facebook group of mums. There I have found a similar sense of reassurance from other mum’s going through their own cancer experience. They’ve told me that the feelings I have of fear, frustration and isolation are all very normal.

The amazing Joanne, from the Mummy’s Wish team, has been so supportive too. We have lovely long chats and she’s been really reassuring in letting me know that I’m not alone, I’m not going through this by myself and that there are others out there who can help.


I think I felt the isolation so strongly because since I left home at 15-years-old, I’ve always had to deal with everything by myself. I didn’t have parents or family around me to support me growing up, I had to fend for myself. So, when I got my diagnosis, I was trying to deal with it on my own and it took a while for me to ask for help.

I’m so glad I finally did though because I’m lucky in that I have a village of friends and my partners family who are wonderful, so that coupled with the support from the cancer organisations I’m in touch with has been really rewarding.

I would encourage all mum’s who are struggling with a cancer diagnosis to ask for help. Just to have that initial chat and know you’re not alone, that you’re understood. It feels like a massive weight being lifted off your shoulders.

Mummy’s Wish have also provided me with a beautiful care pack which includes really helpful information about my type of cancer and financial assistance in the form of vouchers for groceries. I also received two gorgeous bears for my children. I’m going to record a message and give the bears to them when I go into hospital for my surgery. For the week that I’m not home, they’ll have that comfort at least and hopefully feel like I’m that little bit closer. I’m so grateful for that.

Before I finish my story, I wanted to end with two key pieces of advice for other mums.

Firstly, stay across your insurances as early on in your diagnosis as you can. Your health insurance, income protection, life insurance etc. You never know when you’re going to need it! Unfortunately, I was caught out with income protection, and it has added a lot of stress to an already very stressful situation, so give yourself that peace of mind if you can.

Secondly, be kind to yourself. Take the time you need to process what’s happening to you. As mums we tend to not have enough time in the day, we’re so consumed with looking after our kids and being the backbone for our families. But when you get devastating news like ‘you have cancer’ you just need to take a moment for yourself, put you first, and process those feelings and emotions and take that time to heal physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Thank you for reading my story.