Student, 26, who is set to marry the love of her life also starts planning her own funeral after devastating cancer diagnosis – and urges all young women to be aware of the sign she missed
A 26-year-old woman has revealed the moment she was told she has terminal breast cancer after beating it twice and believing it was gone for good.
Geneva Wilson, van Nieu-Seeland, was net 24 when she was first diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer – a rare and aggressive form of the disease.
Despite the shock, she said she was lucky to be diagnosed at stage one because she still had options.
Geneva Wilson, 26, from New Zealand is due to get married soon but is also planning her own funeral so her family don’t have the stress when she dies from cancer
Geneva, pictured here before cancer, was always a happy and healthy young woman, then at 24 she was diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer
Even Geneva’s second diagnosis – when she was told she was at stage three – pales in comparison to now, with doctors advising her she has only weeks to months left.
‘Doctors are telling me to make most of the time I have left,’ Geneva told Femail.
This time the cancer has appeared in her lungs – making it difficult to breathe and forcing her already battered body to go through more operations.
‘They have removed the lump and also piece of my lung, but my body is still recovering from the last lot of chemotherapy which it didn’t handle well,’ sy het gese.
Geneva, who is set to be married soon to her fiancé James, is tired and emotionally overwhelmed as she also plans her own funeral to save her family the stress.
This time the cancer was picked up by routine scans – the day before New Zealand went into lockdown.
‘I got a text after I had the scan to tell me I needed to come in for an appointment the next day, my stomach dropped and I was just really sad,’ sy het gese.
The young woman has since been told to ‘live while she can’
How can I check my breasts?
Self-checking the same time every month is a great habit, breast-cancer patient Shonel Bryant says
Things to look out for
Lumps in breast or armpit
Breast or nipple pain
Nipple retraction or inversion
Changes to the skins texture- redness, discolouring, scaling, shrinkage
Swelling in breast or arm
Localised feeling of warmth
Lymph node changes
What to feel for
While you’re standing put your left hand on your waist, now roll that shoulder forward and reach into your underarm area and check for enlarged lymph nodes. These are small glands that will fill with fluid when you have an infection. An enlarged node would feel something like a corn kernel. Make sure you check that area just above and below the collarbone too. Now repeat this on the other side.
Using the pads of 3 of 4 vingers, move them in a circular motion from the outside of your breast/pecs all the way in. Experiment with pressures until you find something that feels right. Be sure to cover the whole breast/pec until you have reached your nipple. Ja, you have to check your nipples too.
A trick I have found useful is not taking your hands off your breasts/pecs so you do not miss anywhere. Putting a naturally derived lotion on (chemicals are not our friends) will help your hand slide around.
Some people find it easiest lying down flat on their backs to feel for any changes as it flattens the breast. Personally I like to do it in front of the mirror standing up, though I frequently do it in the shower with my boob lube. Performing a self-check in the shower can help, as your hand tends to glide over your skin easier and you are already washing your body.
Experiment with what works best for you. Regardless of which position you choose the motion is the same.
Bron: Support your girls
Geneva has fallen in love with James and became engaged in the last few months
‘I was terrified, I knew it couldn’t be good because usually it takes weeks for the scans to come back.’
The young woman, who was studying psychology when she first found a cancerous lump in her breast, stopped everything for treatment.
The first time she went into remission Geneva was afraid to celebrate – she didn’t think it was the last time she would face the disease.
‘Ek was bang, I felt like there was something not right inside me,’ sy het gese.
And she was right – despite going through chemotherapy, radiotherapy and having a double mastectomy the cancer came back – this time in her lymph nodes.
Geneva says she will keep fighting, despite her dire prognosis, because she wants to be there for friends and family for as long as possible
But she fought back again and when she went into remission, Geneva finally felt like she could look forward to a cancer-free life.
‘When I finished chemo the last time I genuinely thought I was through with it – even though doctors told me there was a high chance of it coming back,’ sy het gese.
Geneva, who is now finding it difficult to breathe and speak for too long, wants to make sure other women are aware of the signs to look for and the importance of regular checks.
Geneva said can barely remember her life before cancer and says that every time she gets a glimpse of normality it rips her world apart again
‘I was sitting on the couch, it felt like they say it does – a hard lump that doesn’t move around,’ sy het gese.
She also wants to push for immunotherapy to be part of normalised treatment in New Zealand.
‘If I was in Australia or the US then it would have been part of the standard treatment when I was first diagnosed.
‘Now I have to come up with $100,000 if I want it, but I am probably too far along for it to have any effect,’ sy het gese.
Geneva, pictured with James, now uses the skills she learned in her psychology degree to help herself and her loved ones cope with each stage of her terminal cancer diagnosis
‘Who knows – if I had that available to me originally what my life would look like now.’
Geneva now uses the skills she learned in her psychology degree to help herself and her loved ones cope with each stage of her terminal cancer diagnosis, and process the emotional trauma.
‘At this point the money raised for me will be going toward funeral costs and not treatment,’ sy het gese.
‘I have also had a whirlwind romance, and will get married to the love of my life soon, which means my sickness benefits will be cut.
‘So I will use the money to survive, however long that may be.’
To donate to Geneva you can head to her Give A Little bladsy.