What a breast cancer survivor wants you to know about checking your boobs

Body+Soul speaks to Gabriela Fearn about her rollercoaster journey with cancer.

Yoga teacher and family photographer Gabriela Fearn’s breast cancer journey is unique, because she never had a discernible lump.

Speaking on Body+Soul’s daily podcast Healthy-ish, she says that two maternal aunts had breast cancer so she’d been proactive about asking for screening, but had always been turned away for being too young.

Checking had been her only option.

Like what you see? Sign up to our bodyandsoul.com.au newsletter for more stories like this.

“In June of last year, I felt something different on the left side, just above my nipple. It was kind of like a thickening or like my surgeon later described it – a ridge. So it wasn’t actually a lump. But that’s what made me go to the GP initially, and the GP felt it.”

From there, everything happened in a whirlwind. After the mammogram, a biopsy was ordered, but Fearn still thought it was likely not going to turn up as anything bad.

“[The radiologist] looked at me and said, ‘From your scans, I’m pretty sure that this is cancer and it’s quite big’. And I just started to cry,” she explains.

“I was alone because of covid. I couldn’t have anyone come into the room with me. And so there was this radiologist and this nurse and me, just sobbing and then I went out to the street where my husband was waiting for me and it was raining and he just held me and I cried.”

Her message to women reading this? It doesn’t have to be a ‘lump’ for it to be cancer.

“It’s really just about looking for differences,” she says. “Textural differences and check under your armpits as well.”

For Fearn, the low point of her battle occurred right after surgery, grappling with her mortality and realising she may not see her children grow up.

They had plans, for another baby, to move overseas for with her husband’s job (which had been offered two days after she was diagnosed but had always been a dream for them). She also wasn’t allowed to see her mum due to the pandemic.

“I was really feeling like I was losing control of my body and my future,” she says. “You just feel like you’ve lost control of your life.”

However, like most people who have lived through cancer, she says it’s also taught her so much about living.

“We’re all a lot stronger and more resilient than we think we and than we give ourselves credit for,” she says. “Going through cancer, I just was held up by family and friends and even strangers, and I just don’t take it for granted at all – the support that we got. And I find now, even more than before, I’m just really grateful for ordinary simple things because I think those are really the big things in the

Find out more about her yoga teaching and training via her website, here, or on Instagram @gabrielafearn. For more info about Breast Cancer Awareness Month, visit here.

Any products featured in this article are selected by our editors, who don’t play favourites. If you buy something, we may get a cut of the sale. Learn more.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here