A Letter From Camilla Franks06 May 2021
A Letter From Camilla Franks
Tonight I’m hugging Luna’s teddy, which she gave me as I left her for surgery. It's my comfort in a sea of sadness and I’m clinging to it like a life raft, breathing in her smell, feeling her presence and warmth. Its little furry body is soaked with a torrent of tears that I can’t seem to stop.
I lie here with a broken heart as I recover from surgery to finally remove my ovaries. The grief and pain is excruciating. I feel as if my chest is going to burst as I mourn the loss of children I can no longer bear.
This hideous journey of breast cancer never ends.
The gut-wrenching fear, sickness and debilitating rounds of immediate treatment are one thing, but it goes on. I have a harmful BRCA2 gene variant and with that diagnosis came a horrible reality. That not only did I have to fight the stage 3 breast cancer I had, I also had to prevent the future cancers I was so much more likely to get – more breast cancer, ovarian cancer, fallopian tube cancer, and others. I had to fight to save my life. A life which is so much more precious now that I have a little girl who loves and needs me.
First was the discovery of a lump, and the heartache of having to wean my 8 week old baby off my breast within days. Then 6 months of the bazooka of all chemo to attack my cancer, successfully. Then my treatment shifted to prevention. I underwent a double mastectomy, saying goodbye to my breasts which had only just been nourishing my beautiful newborn. Next went my fallopian tubes. But now, this. The divine essence of my womanhood. My ovaries, the most sacred givers of life, being taken from me, leaves the biggest hole of all.
Everyone has a public face, but we all have our private side too. And sometimes it’s a private hell. I want you to know that behind the scenes of all the glamorous fashion shoots, parties, events and all the wonderful creative explosions of my brand, a different story has been playing out in private.
I’ve spent the past 18 months in pursuit of the dream of becoming a mother again.
I kept putting this final lifesaving surgery off in the hope that I could pull off a miracle. But five unsuccessful rounds of IVF later, with all the hope and disappointment they brought, has delivered me to this point. I just really wanted to carry a baby again. I wanted to have a brood of bubbas, and now must accept that I will have one biological child.
With Mother’s Day this Sunday I’m reminded just how much being a mother is a gift. And how many women will find this time painful. My heart aches for all those who never get to fulfill their dream of motherhood at all. I am beyond grateful that I have my beautiful little girl Luna. I am blessed to have experienced motherhood. But as for so many other mothers and would-be mothers, breast cancer has cruelly decided our future.
Breast Cancer has taken too much from me as it has so many women and families. It’s a battle we need to keep fighting to the point of exhaustion. A battle we need to win.
I’m sharing this latest reality in my fight for life in the hope that I can inspire action. My hope is that you will stay vigilant with your own bodies, that you will support each other through treatment – however long it takes, and that you will fund the organisations that can change the statistics.
I am a proud ambassador for the National Breast Cancer Foundation @nbcfaus because they fund research into the most diagnosed cancer in Australia – afflicting 1 in 7 women. Over 20,000 Australians will be diagnosed this year alone. Program after program funded by the National Breast Cancer Foundation improves the odds and changes the future. They are 100% community funded and without us their projects would be compromised. Please donate what you can to a mighty cause.
Today, I am more determined than ever to fight to find a cure and wipe this bloody breast cancer off the face of the earth. I never want to see my daughter, or any other person go through this.
There will always be an undertone of grief and sadness but I will thrive again. I will laugh. I will feel joy. Because that is who I am. I’m a fighter and I will be ok, but right now I’m not.
Thank you for your support. I read your messages and stories and I feel your love.