It was a very emotional morning when Mix 102.3 newsreader Maria Gaban returned to work for the first time in almost a year, following her cancer battle which began just weeks after the birth of her daughter.
Jodie and Soda’s admiration and love for their colleague and friend was obvious as Jodie explained to listeners that it has been a very hard couple of years for Maria, whose son Julius died during birth in March 2017, but things were looking more positive following the birth of her healthy baby girl, Trinity in April 2018.
But it was about seven weeks after giving birth that Maria first noticed something wrong, “I felt a bit of a lump in the breast and because it wasn’t there before breastfeeding I just assumed it was a blocked duct and an engorged breast.”
Maria went to the doctors and had an ultrasound and was told the lump “was full of milk and it’ll go away”, but when it was still there four months later, Maria decided to go back to the doctor and asked for a mammogram.
It came back as breast cancer.
Maria says, “I was just like ‘woah’, I was not expecting that…I had a 6cm lump. To my breast surgeon… it didn’t look very good.”
The days after receiving her diagnosis were very difficult, “I didn’t have kids not to raise them. I want to be there for every cry and every milestone. You become very aware of your own mortality. We all know we’re going to die but you think ‘God, not at 38 just when I’m starting my family life.”
Following surgery to remove the lump, Maria got the good news that the cancer was ‘non-invasive’ and had not spread but she decided to undergo chemotherapy to reduce the risk of it returning.
Jodie, who was visibly moved told Maria, “You still smile every day and that is the reason we love you so much…my God you rock a head scarf. You are a beautiful human, you are very much part of our family and this is why we are doing this big challenge to help people like you. We love you so very much and you’re the bravest chick I know.”
Maria, who still has six weeks of chemo left to endure, wants to leave women with this final message: “If something doesn’t feel right, don’t ignore it. Like I said, the first time (my cancer) wasn’t picked up. Keep going back, you’ve got to make sure you get on top of it.”