Health

'I am ready to fight for my life'

Breast cancer victim whose daughter died from the disease vows to survive

Sunday, October 22, 2017

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NOW battling breast cancer herself, it has been less than a year since Lorna Farquharson watched her daughter die from the monster disease.

For the 52-year-old, it still feels like only yesterday she sat beside her daughter as they learnt of her child's breast cancer diagnosis.

So having had a front-row seat to seeing the effects of the disease, Farquharson was dumbfounded when she was told by her doctor that a lump had been discovered in her breast.

Given that her daughter was the first person in her family to have been affected by the disease, Farquharson was not expecting that kind of news when she did her routine mammogram in October 2016.

“When I found out I thought he was joking. He told me I had to get the breast off. It all felt surreal because I had just seen my daughter go through this and I didn't know I would be next,” said the 52-year-old.

Watching her daughter die from breast cancer had shattered her world. However, that experience proved to be the preparation Farquharson needed when she learnt of her own stage-three diagnosis of the leading cancer in Jamaican women.

“I had to get a mastectomy in early 2017 because it was my only option at that point, and although I was so afraid, I had gained the strength I needed because I had seen what my daughter went through was for a reason,” she explained.

Farquharson, who is still recovering, is now looking to undergo chemotherapy despite her own reluctance, having seen her daughter's condition seemingly worsen while receiving the treatment.

“I didn't want to do chemo because of how it had affected my daughter, but I know she would have wanted me to be determined to live, so I am going into my chemo treatment ready to fight for my life and to keep her memory alive,” she said.

Fighting the disease has not just been a mental decision for Farquharson, who is a cook, but she has also changed her lifestyle.

“I try to motivate myself to exercise. I take the bus less and walk to work instead, and I eat better because I am trying to counteract the disease,” she explained.

The 52-year-old acknowledged that the support of her family and organisations such as Jamaica Reach To Recovery has been critical to her well-being.

“Their support group, in particular, has been so wonderful, because I feel like I have someone to talk to about the things someone suffering from cancer does. I would tell everyone who suffers from cancer to check Jamaica Reach To Recovery out; they are very supportive,” Farquharson said.

The breast cancer victim is also urging individuals to support the ICWI/Jamaica Reach To Recovery Pink Run.

“I will be going to the run. I want to be a part of all activities that help this wonderful group keep doing the wonderful service they provide,” she added.

The ICWI/Jamaica Reach to Recovery Pink Run, pink being the colour associated with breast cancer worldwide — is a themed 5K run/walk set for October 28. The Pink Run is in its 15th year, with this being its third year with ICWI as the title sponsor. The theme for 2017 is 'Tutus and Tall Socks' and individuals and teams are asked to come out in their outfits to show their support for breast cancer.

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