A mum-of-two threw an emotional head-shaving party after being diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 31.
Sydney woman, Laura Matrjan, found out just before Mother’s Day in 2015 that the lump she had found on her breast was in fact an aggressive form of cancer.
The now 34-year-old underwent a double mastectomy but before she began four months of grueling chemotherapy, Laura decided to help her two boys come to terms with things by letting them help shave her hair off.
“I had a head shaving party so they could see my hair coming off and they also helped me do it as well,” Laura told Be.
“So, they thought that was fun, getting to shave mummy’s hair.
“We did a nice family photoshoot before surgery so they had fun and we got some really nice memories before everything went pear-shaped and different.”
Laura was lying in bed back in 2015 when she noticed a lump on her breast and turned to her husband to ask him if he could feel it.
Her husband told her to go get it checked out on a Monday and just five days later, on Friday morning, she was told she had cancer.
“I had been waiting all week to find out and you convince yourself when you’re 31-years-old well it’s not going to be breast cancer because why would that happen to a 31-year-old?,” Laura said.
Laura ‘couldn’t function’ when the doctor gave her the news and felt ‘numb’.
“I just remember everything being very cloudy and black around me,” she said.
“It was very confronting. My friend called my husband. It was a blur – a huge, numb blur.”
The top priorities in Laura’s mind were her two sons, who were just two and four-years-old at the time.
“My biggest concerns were how was I going to get through this with two young kids and was I going to see my little boy go to school or have a Christmas with them?,” Laura recalled.
The mum tried to keep her kids informed in an age-appropriate way, by creating a story board to give them an idea of what would be happening in the coming months.
There were pictures of their daycare so they knew they would be spending more time there, as well as pictures of their grandparents so they were aware they would be seeing them a lot more often.
The main picture at the end was of a person in bandages, so they would know their mum would be in surgery and they wouldn’t be able to see her for a few weeks.
While her four-year-old seemed to understand as best he could, her two-year-old son was really angry with his mum because he wouldn’t be able to hug her.
Luckily for Laura, the cancer was caught at a very early stage but because it was triple negative, there was a higher level of recurrence within the first three years of being diagnosed.
Doctors recommended she undergo chemotherapy as a precaution but just before she did, the mum tried IVF to see if she could harvest some eggs for the future.
“I didn’t know if I wanted to have more children,” Laura said.
“I was obviously a lucky person to have met my husband early to have my children early.”
It unfortunately didn’t work but she claims she’s happy she’s tried and she’s ok with it now.
After four months of chemotherapy Laura was given the all clear and now has a new appreciation for the simple things in life.
“I get to take my kids to school every morning I get to pick them up every afternoon. I get to spend time with them and see them grow,” Laura said.
“I appreciate health and the people who were able to give that to you.
“I can’t imagine how my mum did it honestly. As a mum myself, watching somebody who you’ve given birth to go through something like that.
“As a parent, you’re supposed to be able to heal people when they’re sick and help them and to not be able to do that would have been very confronting.”
Now Laura is encouraging people to give mums a gift that actually matters this Mother’s Day in the form of a donation to Breast Cancer Trials.
Every person that does so will receive a special Mother’s Day card to give to their mum so the donation can be acknowledged.
Got a story tip? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org