MELINDA Price will notch up a significant milestone in her recovery from breast cancer next year.
The former Supercars racer joined the V8 Sleuth Podcast powered by Timken to talk about her career behind the wheel, highlighted by her role in the Castrol Cougars all-female entry run by Perkins Motorsport in 1997 and 1998.
Born into a family of kart racers, Price also told stories about being teammates with the likes of Sam Newman, Sir Jack Brabham and high-profile F1 circuit designer Hermann Tilke, and also opened up about her cancer battle, beginning with a diagnosis that came very late in her pregnancy with her first child.
“Obviously when you’re nine months pregnant, that’s not what you want to hear. That you’ve got cancer,” Price told the V8 Sleuth Podcast.
“I was feeling amazing actually, I loved being pregnant. I did feel the lumps in my breast – a lot of cancers are sensitive to hormones and that stimulates their growth.
“Mine was one of those: it was very sensitive to oestrogen, and obviously you have loads of that flowing around when you’re pregnant, so it was growing very fast.
“But I felt (the lumps) and I remember saying to the midwife on one of my checkups, and she said ‘I wouldn’t be too concerned, your breasts change a lot when you’re pregnant,’ and kind of dismissed it.
“I just felt like it wasn’t right; it was there and it hadn’t been there last time I checked. I booked myself in to see the specialist and they got onto that straight away.
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“It was sort of the worst day and best day of my life all in the same day. In the morning when I went in, he said: ‘Alright, well you’ve got breast cancer. Go home and digest that, then pack your bags and go to the hospital because we’re going to induce the baby today so we can operate on you.’
“I had my first surgery when Lily was one week old, and then had another one three weeks after that, then chemo started and radiation.
“I think the one good thing is that I never really had a second to feel sorry for myself or down in the dumps because I had this beautiful little baby that I’d wanted my whole life there to put a smile on my face, all day every day.
“We’re all good now; I feel fantastic (and) I’m probably healthier than I’ve ever been.
“After 10 years you get officially diagnosed as being cured, and that’s April next year.”