I don’t know if I believe in fate or that things happen for a reason. All I know is that my life has changed unrecognizably in the last 12 months.
One year ago, At the age of 36 and a mum of 2 young kids, I was being told I had an aggressive form of breast cancer. I still remember the words…..“the results are not what we hoped” I felt frozen, I couldn’t even cry.
Every year thousands of women face this. They wonder what this means for their family, their kids, their partners, their future? Mothers write letters to their children in their heads, just in case. No mother should ever have to face this, but they do. They put of a brave face and deal with the fear, the tiredness, the sickness and try and keep things as normal as possible while their lives are turned upside down.
I was lucky, my GP was amazing, I wasn’t dismissed as too young to get breast cancer, she got me in to see a surgeon, an oncologist and I had seen them all by the end of the week. A plan was put into place and I had clarity and context. It was early, no lymph nodes were affected, and I was straight into chemo the week after.
I quickly realized I had very little control over what was to come but I could pick my attitude and how I handled everything. I shaved my hair for charity, caught up with friends for chemo and tried to keep things as normal as possible for my boys.
Fast forward to today and I couldn’t be more excited about what lies ahead, the exact opposite of how I felt last year. We have swapped our house for a caravan and are spending a year doing a lap of Australia. As a family we need to reset, relax and live. Last year I was hit with an uncertain future but absolutely nobody has certainty, life is fragile, and we can’t change what has passed so we have to make the most of what we’ve got.
Like many women before me whose lives have been rocked by cancer, I feel a huge urge to raise awareness. I have seen so many women write that if they can reach one woman and cause her to get an earlier diagnosis then it all will have been for something, and I agree, so I have become a So Brave Ambassador Candidate. So Brave works specifically to raise awareness for young breast cancer. To educate young women and to raise money to fund research.
I did not expect my diagnosis due to my age and I’m by no means the youngest hit by this disease. I have created my blog ‘Barefoot and Breastless’ to help towards this cause but also to reach people facing a similar diagnosis and let them know they can get through it. I want young women to check themselves and be vigilant because cancer does not discriminate.
But most of all I want to celebrate life. Cancer is a metamorphosis, there is no going back to who you were before.
It’s not just physically but also emotionally. I look at old photos of me and see a kind of innocence, unsuspecting and unaware of what lay ahead. I have come out the other side with a whole new set of priorities and although it sounds cliched, a whole new lease on life. Life after cancer isn’t always going to be easy but I’m going to make sure it’s about family, travel and adventure!