Lisa Field with her two children, Milla and Piper.
Lisa Field with her two children, Milla and Piper. Tony Martin

Young mum's cancer nightmare

AT 37 years of age, mother-of-two Lisa Field is about to battle breast cancer - for the second time.

She was first diagnosed in 2011, when she found a large lump high up on her breast, which doctors soon confirmed as cancerous.

She was young, wasn't married, hadn't had kids, and had a life ahead of her that had suddenly stopped in its tracks.

However, invasive surgery, months of chemotherapy and radiation, luckily worked for Mrs Field, who beat the aggressive illness with her family by her side - but now it's come to haunt her again.

Contrary to what many believe, she said finding out for the second time was far more "gut-wrenching" than the first.

"It's not easier, it's so much harder, because this time you know exactly what's ahead, you know the risks, you know the pain and the discomfort that's about to come," she said.

"I know I'm not going to be able to hold or play with my kids... I'm going to have to stop breastfeeding my four-month-old daughter.

"I will most likely never have kids again, even though I want more, because the chemotherapy kills that chance, and I'll be feeling sick and exhausted all the time. I'll lose all my hair and now both my breasts."

Mrs Field met, then married her husband Tyler in 2014.

Together they went on to have two beautiful daughters, Milla and Piper.

She had just managed to return to her former healthy self, preparing to start afresh with her new young family, with plans to move to Darwin for Tyler's work in coming months.

Prior to that move, she recently underwent her routine half-yearly check-up but was not prepared for the results that came back.

"I had always been told that it was only a matter of when, not if, for the cancer coming back," she said.

"But I thought maybe when I was in my fifties or sixties one day, not in my thirties again, only a few years after just beating it.

"It was very difficult to hear, and also to try and break that to my family again, everyone was just shattered."

The former Ambrose Medical receptionist and stay-at-home mum, underwent surgery on Tuesday to have the tumour and her second breast removed.

It was a bitter-sweet moment.

While she was obviously relieved to have the tumour removed as soon as possible, it marked the beginning of a long hard road ahead.

Mrs Field said being a big-busted woman naturally, it was difficult to completely lose both breasts, and losing hair later only added to the grief.

"To be honest, you don't feel like you," she said.


Lisa Field has been diagnosed with breast cancer twice, about to embark on her second fight.
Lisa Field has been diagnosed with breast cancer twice, about to embark on her second fight. Contributed

"It is hard to get used to the appearance, but also, it means I can't breastfeed Piper. Sunday before my operation was my last feed and it was just devastating.

"I went into my bedroom and just bawled my eyes out."

The hardest part of all, however, was coming to terms with the possibility of not having children again, Mrs Field said.

She has already defied the odds. After her first brush with cancer, doctors told her she had a one per cent chance of ever falling pregnant.

Miraculously she did, twice. Now, having to face chemotherapy again, Mrs Field knows the odds are not in her favour.

"It was heart-wrenching to think I might not be able to have kids and I was so so lucky that somehow I managed to fall pregnant that first time," she said.


Lisa Field with her two children Milla and Piper.
Lisa Field with her two children Milla and Piper. Tony Martin

"But to be honest, I'd like another two. I love children, I have always been very maternal, any kids or babies around and they're in my arms.

"Just the thought that cancer is taking that opportunity away from me, to grow my family, that's what hurts a lot, you know, don't take something so precious away from me."

Mrs Field and her family will find out this week, the prognosis of her surgery, whether all the cancer was able to be removed, and how aggressive and far along it was.

Everyone is waiting and desperately hoping for a positive response.

"Mentally it does get to you, because life was really looking up and then it just came crashing down again this year," she said.

"But that being said, I am so grateful for what I have got. I managed to get through this once before, I have an amazing husband, my children, and other family with me every step.

"I'm just taking each day as it comes, that's all you can do, I'm still busy being a mum, looking after the kids and keeping hubby happy, you just have to keep going."

Mrs Field said she couldn't have been through all she had or fathom what lies ahead, without the comfort and help of her husband, her "support network, the person that often goes unnoticed."

"People forget about that loved one, partner, carer who has to be by them every step of the way. I honestly feel like it is just as hard for them as the person with cancer," she said.

"My mother lost both her husband and mum to cancer and she agrees; they are there through your sickness, watching you hurt and cry, wanting to help you but feeling helpless, it is so hard and draining on them too.

"So I am so grateful for Tyler and my family because now they are going through this all again too, but we can do it, we'll do it again, we just have to."

To support Lisa in her fight against breast cancer, you can donate to:

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