From cancer to breastfeeding miracle for Gymea mum

New family: Renata Macri with her husband Luis, and their twins Felix and Ziggy. The Gymea mum survived breast cancer twice, but is able to breastfeed her twins despite having a mastectomy.
New family: Renata Macri with her husband Luis, and their twins Felix and Ziggy. The Gymea mum survived breast cancer twice, but is able to breastfeed her twins despite having a mastectomy.

Renata Macri never lost sight of becoming a mother, despite being told she had breast cancer - twice.

Two weeks after her fiance Luis proposed in 2012, the Gymea mother found a marble-sized lump in her left breast. 

The couple was advised to delay having children for a few years, so they froze seven embryos and moved to San Francisco in 2014.

It was there Mrs Macri felt another lump in the same breast, in 2015. After returning to Sydney for treatment to remove her breast, she unexpectedly and quickly fell pregnant naturally with fraternal twins.

"The first diagnosis was tough, but the second was truly heartbreaking," Mrs Macri said. "We went from looking at wedding venues to dresses, and then everything stopped.

"However, we were eager to have a baby...we didn't even use the embryos."

Then came a third blow. She developed pre-eclampsia, causing her blood pressure to soar dangerously high. It meant an early delivery - with fraternal twins Felix and Ziggy born at 35 weeks at Kareena Private Hospital. But she was able to breastfeed both babies with her right breast.

"It was infinitely more difficult feeding two babies with one breast," Mrs Macri, 37, said. 

"Premmies [also] don't have a suck reflux at we tube fed around the clock. I also try to express so I know how much is there so I can split it evenly. The supply is low, but we supplement with formula, and the twins are growing well."

She says being able to breastfeed her five-week-old sons, with the support of special care nurses at Kareena, is one of her proudest achievements.

"After breast cancer there is no medicine like hope, and holding these two adorable little baby boys in our arms," she said. 

Breast cancer patients will soon save up to $1500 for MRI scans, regardless who would wins the federal election in May. 

The Morrison government recently promised $32.6 million to subsidise the potentially lifesaving scans, and Labor stated it would offer $47 million in additional MRI funding.

Two new Medicare items for breast MRIs would be available from November 1 to provide more accurate diagnosis and treatment, especially in cases where other imaging is inconclusive or a biopsy is not an option.

The government expects about 14,000 patients a year will benefit.

Patients with advanced breast cancer will also benefit from a new Medicare item for PET scans, saving about 10,000 patients per year up to $1000 a scan.

"Anything that can help with expenses is great," Mrs Macri said.

"We were out-of-pocket a little but we wanted the best doctors, and they charge more so we had a bigger gap. I've had hundreds of scans but I didn't even track expenses as I just wanted the best care."

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