Sharing personal cancer story at Mother’s Day Classic

By Ashlea Witoslawski

Living every day to the fullest with a smile on her face, a spring in her step and a positive attitude has helped Katandra’s Jayne Walters overcome a multitude of traumatic events during the past few years.

In November 2015, Mrs Walters was involved in a high speed collision in Katandra, leaving her with spinal, head, chest and pelvic injuries.

Recounting the events, Mrs Walters said this was the start of a sequence of negative experiences.

‘‘I suffered quite a lot of injuries and was in hospital for quite a few months in Melbourne,’’ she said.

Eighteen months on from the accident and positive about her recovery thus far, Mrs Walters was excited to attend her annual girls’ weekend away to Melbourne.

A time to relax and a chance to enjoy a bit of shopping, this particular year the group decided to incorporate a visit to a breast screening clinic.

‘‘We just felt there were a lot of people we were hearing who had breast cancer in their 40s,’’ she said.

In March 2017, Mrs Walters was told she had a mass in her breast and a biopsy would need to take place.

‘‘I was still in recovery mode, doing a lot of trauma counselling and stuff like that so I actually ignored it and didn’t do anything about it,’’ she said.

In August 2017, Mrs Walters decided it was time to have the biopsy done, only after a friend asked about the result.

‘‘I finally got myself organised and went back down to the clinic.’’

Mrs Walters’ test results came back as stage two ductal carcinoma, a form of cancer found in the lining of the breast milk duct.

Undergoing surgery in November 2017, Mrs Walters was struck with more bad luck when she was told a cancerous malignant tumour had been discovered when she returned to find out her results.

‘‘I just couldn’t believe something else was happening,’’ she said.

‘‘I was trying not to really focus on it because that was my way of getting through it.’’

Mrs Walters underwent a second surgery to remove some lymph nodes.

In January 2018, she began seven weeks of radiation therapy and in July 2018 she started chemotherapy tablets.

Celebrating one year free of cancer, Mrs Walters said she’d found it difficult to manage her health at times.

‘‘In all that time I was still having to manage my health because I still have a lot of fatigue from the head injuries so there was a lot going on.

‘‘I’m looking forward to hopefully being clear forever.’’

Mrs Walters encouraged all women to have regular checks, and never ignore the physical signs or their own intuition.

‘‘Don’t wait until you’re 50 because it affects women of all ages,’’ she said.

‘‘If you feel any lumps or anything unusual go to your GP.

‘‘A lot of friends and acquaintances have said, ‘you’ve actually made me go and have a mammogram’.’’

Mrs Walters will be sharing her story at the Mother’s Day Classic in Shepparton on Sunday and is hoping her story is both relatable and inspirational.

‘‘You’ve got to keep moving forward, you can’t throw your hands in the air and say, ‘I can’t do this’,’’ she said.

‘‘Just keep positive; as much as it can be difficult on those down days, just keep focusing on what’s next and keep planning ahead so you get through it.’’

Mrs Walters will be taking part in the Mother’s Day Classic’s 4km walk with the support of her husband Grant and children Claudia and Cooper.