Rocky's own Pink Lady takes a stand against breast cancer
ON August 12, Wendy Stevens will be taking a stand with 18,234 other Australians who have been affected by breast cancer.
As part of Breast Cancer Network Australia's Field of Women 2018, Mrs Stevens will join men, women and children on the MCG turf in Melbourne to form the shape of BCNA's Pink Lady.
The significance of the number relates to the estimated amount of Australian women who will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year: a whopping 18,235.
The Rockhampton Regional Council worker is a die-hard Lions fan and is excited for the opportunity to be a part of something special.
However, she is aware of just how emotional a stand like this will be.
"These sort of things always bring those feelings and emotions back,” she said.
"I think I'll be very nervous and I'll just stand there in awe of the whole thing.
"Everyone there will have been affected by breast cancer... and no two stories will be the same.”
Mrs Stevens was first introduced to the disease when her mother, Marie Dransfield, was diagnosed when she was just six-years-old.
Her aunt also passed away from the disease.
With her family history, Mrs Stevens became diligent with her checks and was prepared for the chance of one day having the same fate.
Then in December 2009, after finding a lump, her suspicions were confirmed.
"I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009... I was 46,” Mrs Stevens said.
"I went to my GP and she sent me for tests and mammograms but they couldn't pick anything up.
"They did ultrasounds with a fine needle and I knew then by the reaction there was something there.
"It's a very sinking, surreal feeling - that dread of the unknown as to what your future holds.”
As her surgeon was about to go on leave for Christmas, Mrs Stevens had to make the decision whether to go ahead with surgery or treatment in a short time-frame.
"I was diagnosed on the Thursday and on Monday I made the decision,” she said.
"I decided to have a mastectomy because by doing that I didn't have to go through chemotherapy and pump all those drugs into me.
"It also would've meant travelling for radiation and normally travelling can take a toll.
"It was a tough decision but I decided to go that way and down the track have reconstruction.”
On December 23, Mrs Stevens had the surgery and on Christmas Day she was discharged.
"My friend, Chris Thompson, flew up from Melbourne to help me the first few days at home,” she said.
"She's coming to the Pink Lady event with me.
"My husband Dick was also a great support.
"We always talked about it... he was my rock.”
Something that many people may not know are the mental health repercussions that occur after a diagnosis.
This was something that Mrs Stevens witnessed in her mother after her own double mastectomy.
"It wasn't spoken about back then but it's different now; people are more open about it,” she said.
Mrs Stevens encouraged anyone dealing with breast cancer to talk openly, get in touch with BCNA and not to rush into anything.
"Look at all the options because there's always something new medically,” she said.
"I'd definitely recommend BCNA because of their assistance over the phone and online.
"They have breast care nurses and they've all been there and done that.”
Ms Stevens also urged women to be aware of their bodies and commit to regular self-checks and mammograms.
"Be aware of any changes in your body,” she said.
"Follow your gut and don't let your GP fob you off.”