3 years ago one of our clients, Marilyn Pratt, was diagnosed with cancer. It was completely out of the blue as she was young, fit and healthy. We talked to her about her experience, how she and her family coped and just how important her critical illness insurance was at the time.
When and how did you discover you had breast cancer?
I was diagnosed in October 2014. I was on holiday with my family in Penang and noticed that my left breast was swollen. There was no lump.
What were your main concerns when you found out?
Utter fear and panic. I was in absolute shock.
How did your family react and cope with your diagnosis?
My sons at the time were 15 and 11 and my youngest didn’t really realise the severity of it but my 15-year-old son was distraught. He cried and cried and hugged me. He was very angry. My husband, family and friends were in shock.
Tell us about your treatment process.
I had to have a full mastectomy on my left breast. I was stage 2 and there were cancer cells found in my lymph nodes so as a result I had to undergo 4 strong body chemo’s (this is when my hair fell out), then I had to undergo 18 cycles (every 3 weeks) of targeted chemo (just to the breast area). I also had to undergo 25 cycles of radiation and in January of this year (2017) I finally had my reconstruction and implants completed.
Did you face any obstacles during your treatment process? If so, how did you overcome these?
I was one of the lucky ones and had no side effects or felt sick at all. I was tired towards the end of the radiation phase, however, the chemotherapy was fine. I made sure that I kept busy seeing friends and my social life continued with or without hair. This kept me very positive.
How did you manage financially after your diagnosis?
Luckily, I had income protection and could take as much time off work as I wanted to get through the treatment. I had received a Critical Illness lump sum payment as well.
How has your experience with breast cancer affected your attitude towards life?
I appreciate the little things now. I live simply and travel overseas. Nothing holds me back anymore. We also sold our BIG house and downsized everything to live more simply but we are much happier now.
What would you say to people who are debating whether to invest in income protection and critical illness insurance?
I would say there is ‘no thinking or debating’ about it. You need it. I had no family history at all, no symptoms, I was a non-smoker, I rarely drink and I stayed fit and healthy. Illness does not discriminate no matter who you are.
If you’ve not put in place personal insurances like critical illness cover, life insurance or income protection, speak to our insurance brokers in Joondalup today. Our financial advisors can help you find the right level of cover for you and your family to ensure you will be financially secure should the unexpected happen. Call us on 08 9300 2553 and make an appointment now.