Hudson | Spotlight with Emma Crowley
Posted on April 11 2018
Q: How did you find out that you had breast cancer?
A: I was in the shower, shaving and I felt a huge lump under my right armpit, the size of a golf ball. I went to the GP straight away and I really thought it would be an infection and I would be able to take some antibiotics to get better. My GP wanted to get some tests done and we found out it was cancer. I went to see an oncologist over labour week-end and started treatment right away.
Q: How old were you?
A: I was 24 years old when I was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Q: You have a daughter, how did this affect her life?
A: Caroline was 4, it was somewhat of a blessing that she was so young as she had no preconceived ideas of what cancer is. I certainly thought that cancer was a death sentence but with a younger child, she didn’t really have a clue nor the maturity to understand. Going to hospital was part of our routine.
Q: Did you have to stop working and quit school when you found out?
A: I worked the whole time! The first 12 weeks were fine but the last 9 weeks were tough. I had 3 weekly intervals where 1 week was a round of chemo which made the week after horrific and then the week after was ok. During the whole year of battling cancer, I only took 4 to 5 weeks off.
Q: Wow! That's incredible. You not only worked but also kept going to school?
A: Yes. I didn't want to put it off. I was diagnosed 2 years into law school and I was taking core papers at the time and still had to go through my exams. So when I started the treatment, I did not want it to defeat me and so I kept going... I did a paper every semester; which I probably wouldn't recommend.
Q: Wow! how did you manage all of that?
A: The worst part was the chemo, everything else was ticking boxes and finishing the path. It was quite good to have chemo first and everything else was fine. It wasn't easy but you get through it. Surgery was fine... they give you lots of drugs.
Q: You're so blasé about the whole process
A: It'll be 6 years this October... I was blasé during the process too. I didn't take it very seriously.. well obviously it was very serious but I guess I didn't dramatise it. I did for the first couple of weeks but then once I had a plan in place, it was less stressful. Once you work out the path that you need to take, everything kind of falls into place.
Q: How was it at home with your partner?
A: Wayne worked nights during the first six weeks, which was incredibly tough because I was not sleeping very well. I had friends staying with me but it was quite taxing on them as well. However, once Wayne stopped working nights... everything became a bit easier.
Q: What would be your advice for another younger woman diagnosed with cancer?
A: Take your medication! It's so important. You also have to ride the waves and having a lot of people surrounding you makes it a bit easier. It was a time in my life where I had a lot of friends surrounding me and I'm grateful I took the help. Take the help!
Q: How did you keep your spirits up and deal with it?
A: I behaved as outrageously as I could! When I decided to shave my hair off as it was falling out due to chemo, I took champagne to the hairdressers so that we could toast this new chapter of my life. It was also important for me to have an entourage at every round of chemo. 3 or 4 girlfriends/ family members were always with me to support me. (smiles) At the chemo facility, they use to call my suite " The Crowley Suite" because of the amount of people I always had around.
Q: What is power to you?
A: I think a well-dressed woman looks very powerful to me. This might be a bit controversial because some people say that it shouldn't be about the way you look and I agree. However, I feel really powerful when I have a great outfit on and my hair is done up. Feeling good about yourself is power and however that manifests for you is fine but for me it is appearance based.
Q: Rightly or wrongly, you do notice someone's appearance first when you see them...
A: As an example, Emma Butcher, a partner in the firm I work for, has amazing style and has an excellent ability of commanding a room when she walks in. She's not necessarily in a suit but she has an awesome presence that I think that makes her quite powerful.
Q: What is your thing in terms of beauty, fashion etc..?
A: I'm not much of a fashionista...I mean I love dressing up but I'd rather have someone dress me (laughs). I love shoes, handbags and a good lippy. I do love make-up!
Q: What is your favourite brand of make-up?
A: I love my Clinique foundation and Estee Lauder. If I could afford Chanel perfume, I would definitely buy that. Although, I love my Valentino perfume.
Q: If you had all the money in the world, what would you buy?
A: If I had all the money in the world, I'd make my closet cooler (laughs). I'd hire someone to help me dress. I find going shopping quite stressful at times...I'm not a big fan of hunting down bargains. I rather purchase something that is quality. At the moment, I buy as I need instead of keeping up with trends.
Q: What would you say your style is?
A: It varies depending on where I'm heading and how I'm feeling. For work, I dress mostly conservatively but during the weekend I may go a bit more funky and sometimes very classy. It's a mixture.
Q: Who is your style icon? If you had to pick someone that you would like to emulate who would it be?
A: I don't really know... bits and pieces from so many. I love the fact that Erika and Dorit from The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills have their glam squad - haha. If I had all the money, I would have a glam squad and dare to dress like them all the time.
Q: Lastly, can you give me an example of a woman you admire or women you admire?
A: That's a tough one. I love women in general. I could name a celebrity but sometimes I feel like that's a bit of a cop out. I find all the women in my life inspiring and I like that we can lift each other up.