Dromana tattooist Erin Liversidge waging a cancer fight she never saw coming

Erin Liversidge learnt she had breast cancer on Christmas eve last year at the age of 33 after a routine night feed of her youngest daughter uncovered an unusual lump.

And now, the face of Peninsula Health’s Take a Break for Cancer campaign is discovering the tools in her breast cancer fight are closer to home than she ever thought.

Erin Liversidge thought her first mammogram would be when she turned 50.

One evening after breastfeeding eight-month-old daughter Molly, the Dromana-based tattooist made a find that would change her life.

“As I was putting my bra back on, I felt it,” says the 33-year-old.

“Normally I would feel lumps and bumps from breastfeeding anyway, but this one felt bigger – bigger than a thumbnail, which I knew wasn’t normal.”

Erin was not taking any chances, booking herself into the earliest ultrasound she could find.

On Christmas eve last year, two and a half hours after that appointment, her GP rang.

Erin Liversidge undergoes chemotherapy at Rosebud Hospital, with the help of Chemotherapy Day Unit Associate Nurse Unit Manager Chantelle Pollard.

“That started the rollercoaster.”

“It was dinner time – and dinner time with two little children already sucks – so I took the phone call and walked into the other room.”

“I ended up sitting on the ground half way through, crying, obviously not knowing if it had spread further than my arm pit – where is it, how far had it gone?”

Erin underwent a position emission tomography (PET) scan, revealing the cancer had “thankfully” spread no further than the lymph node in her arm pit and her diagnosis would be categorised as stage three.

Looking back on her first six months of cancer treatment at Frankston and Rosebud Hospital, the married mother of two says she had no idea she could receive care around the corner from home.

“The whole cancer thing I really didn’t know much about.”

“Over the years I’ve heard from clients about their cancer stories when they came in for survivor tattoos, but I just had no idea about the depth of everything you have to go through.”

“There are so many appointments every week, follows ups, then there’s surgeons, oncologists, the bloods tests – I just had no idea.”

“And I had no idea it was here on the Peninsula.”

“I really enjoyed my first treatment at Frankston Hospital, but I am loving Rosebud so much, and I am so glad it is here. I can drop the children off at day care and come in for treatment.”

To find out more about how you can Take a Break for Cancer, head to www.takeabreakforcancer.org.au.

Erin Liversidge outside the Chemotherapy Day Unit at Rosebud Hospital.