Brave mum’s fight with biggest health battle

Mikaela was just 23 when an accidental kick while changing her two-year-old daughter led to a breast cancer diagnosis. Mikaela had no family history of breast cancer and wasn’t experiencing any other symptoms, but her self-examination identified a lump in her breast and her decision to get it checked most likely saved her life.

Given Mikaela’s low risk profile her doctor initially thought the lump could have been scar tissue from a car accident two-years earlier and that no further action was required. When it happened again Mikaela went back to the doctor and a referral was made for a scan of her breast and a tumor was discovered and biopsied.

Mikaela was diagnosed with Stage 3 Breast Cancer on the 18th June 2021. She was immediately referred to St Andrew’s Toowoomba Hospital, Breast Surgeon, Dr Eric Donaldson and Oncologist, Dr Natacha Sorour. Before the month was out, Mikaela started her first round of Chemotherapy.

Throughout Mikaela’s treatment she has had the support of the Blush Cancer Care Nurses at St Andrew’s Hospital. “It was a very difficult time for me, I wanted to be at home looking after my daughter and I was stuck in hospital, the breast care nurses would sit with me for hours,’ said Mikaela. ‘They gave me so much information and were so caring. I don’t think I could have gotten through it, without them.”

“In December 2021 a unilateral mastectomy was performed removing the affected breast and lymph nodes, at the time there were no visitors at the hospital because of COVID-19 and my surgery was delayed. My breast care nurse cancelled her other appointments for the day, so that she could be there for me, said Mikaela.

In January 2022, Mikaela started her second round of chemotherapy. This chemotherapy was given every three weeks for a further 10 months and she also completed 25 rounds of radiation therapy received 5 times a week, over 5 weeks.

Mikaela’s body was struggling, after each of the chemotherapy sessions she would need to stay in hospital for a week to receive intravenous fluids to help her body recover. On the 16th March, 2023 Mikaela’s other breast was removed to prevent any new breast cancer developing, and she had reconstructive surgery with Dr Ian Ng to restore the breast shape for Mikaela.

Mikaela is now in remission and living a happy and healthy life with her now four-year-old daughter and husband. She checks in with her Oncology team every six months to ensure the cancer hasn’t returned.

Mikaela has a message for all women and men.

‘You must regularly check your breasts. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a family history, it doesn’t matter your age and if you discover something that isn’t quite right talk to your doctor. Had I ignored the signs there is every chance I would not be here and my daughter would not have a mother to care for her.’

The St Andrew’s, Diagnostic Breast Clinic provides a comprehensive breast service for both women and men of all ages who are seeking a breast review or experiencing breast symptoms. Symptoms may include lumps, pain or the patient may have a family history of breast cancer.

A referral is not required to access the services of the Diagnostic Breast Clinic.

The Diagnostic Breast Clinic opening hours are:

8:30am – 4:00pm Monday to Thursday
9:00am – 2:00pm Friday

Contact telephone numbers: 1300 139 466 and (07) 4646 3024

Mikeala is now in remission and enjoys her days with her family.

Mikaela ringing the bell a tradition at ICON Cancer Centre following the last round of radiation therapy.

Mikaela admitted to St Andrew’s Toowoomba Hospital following chemotherapy.