If you met Ron, you’d think he’s very much a typical Kiwi bloke. A farmer, husband, dad and granddad, he also has secondary breast cancer.
One of our four male members, Ron was first diagnosed in 2013. As a dairy farmer, he’d led a physically active life and had always been really fit and he took the first diagnosis as well as he could, expecting a good result. As he says, “Everything looked good after surgery. It was a non-invasive cancer and I fully expected things to be hunky-dory.”
One day, a month after surgery, he was working a heavy pick and shovel job, when his back started hurting. “I thought the pain was part of a farmer’s normal type of back trouble. I went to a physio for a month but when I mentioned it to my oncologist, they decided to take bone scans and a CT which revealed breast cancer in my hip and spine.”
His initial diagnosis was a complete surprise and the news of secondary progression was even harder to come to terms with. “When they said it was secondary I didn’t really understand the implications of that at first. It wasn’t until one of the oncologists said, ‘Well, we expect you to be around for years but you know there is no cure’ that I really understood what the diagnosis meant. I hadn’t realised before that it was something I’d be stuck with so that was a shock.”
After his secondary diagnosis, an article about Sweet Louise in the local paper caught Ron’s eye. He saw both women and men living with secondary breast cancer were welcome to join. “So I did. I wanted to be with other people, to hear their stories and compare results of treatments.” Ron says all the Members accept he is a “bloke” and don’t treat him any differently.
Getting up at 4am to milk the cows and a three hour round trip to Hamilton doesn’t stop Ron from attending the Member Meetings on the last Friday of every month. “The day can be really long, especially in milking season and even though I get very tired because of the driving, going to Member Meetings is definitely worth it,” says Ron.
Thanks to support like yours, we are able to host monthly meetings, giving our Members the opportunity to connect and learn from each other, guest speakers and our Coordinators. As Ron says, “Everyone is in the same boat and it’s great to get to know other Members and compare notes. Sweet Louise has really helped me to connect with other Members and that’s so important to me.”
Thank you so much for helping Members like Ron connect with each other.