After making through the majority of her life never taking a sick day, Bronwyn knew something was deeply wrong when she began losing vitality and found it hard to shake a common cold. “I knew I was fatigued and seemed to want to sleep forever,” she says. “When I felt the thickening in my breast, in some part of my rat brain, I think I knew I was screwed.”
Instead of sticking with her first instinct to build a big fort of despair and never come out, with the encouragement of a friend Bronwyn instead turned to laughter. Through her blog, Bronwyn Plus Breasts, Bronwyn found a less clinical, and humourous, way to work through her battle with breast cancer. “I really wanted my readers to know that having cancer was no different than dealing with any other trauma in your life,” she says. “By taking a serious situation and extrapolating the ridiculous from it, I manage to laugh at some fairly dire things. My sense of humour really helped me to keep things in perspective. I have a strange habit of laughing when things go wrong.”
Almost overnight, the wife and mother-of-two young boys became a source of inspiration for many. “One friend told me he had printed out and kept some of my blogs in a folder, often referring to them for inspiration. I would go to parties and meet people who had read my work and get excited about meeting me. It was a little bit weird,” Bronwyn says.
Bronwyn admits at times it was really hard to find anything to laugh about as a series of even more horrible events unfolded in the twelve months after her diagnosis. "Firstly, a good friend of mine took her life. Secondly, my father-in-law died. Thirdly, my sister Fiona was also diagnosed with breast cancer.”
“I have to come clean and admit there were many days when I was quite angry at myself at what I had undertaken as I found it hard to be positive and there was really nothing I could laugh about,” she explains. “There were many days when I felt completely worn out and sorry for myself. As the chemotherapy wears on, it really does take the puff out of you.”
Although times did test her, Bronwyn says she continued to write, gaining more readers and a wider reach every day. Due to this success, Bronwyn’s inspiring story is now available in paperback: ‘The Breast is History – An Intimate Memoir of Breast Cancer’. The novel is a combination of autobiography, philosophy and humour to provide “a powerful reference for women who have or have had breast cancer, their family and supporters”.
As well as writing, the woman of many talents has dedicated a considerable amount of time to research. “For the past 12 years, I’ve specialised in marketing and research into health and aged care. That’s my day job.”
As for her night job, Bronwyn enjoys making people laugh through stand up comedy. “I have been dabbling in it for the past four years. It is something I want to keep doing and honing and getting better at. They say comedy is one of the hardest things you can do. But frankly, I think I’ve done harder things.
“I’m only just starting out in the world of comedy and really only perform very short pieces at present,” says Bronwyn. “I do find being, as I say, ‘tit-less’ quite funny and am working on some new material relating to the wonders of being flat-chested.”
Although Bronwyn is still undergoing hormonal treatment she says at this stage it all looks good. “I try not to worry about the future. In fact, I don’t spare a thought for it. My main focus is on the here and now.”