My breast cancer journey began nine years ago. I had absolutely no inkling I may have had breast cancer – not a single clue! There was no lump, no discomfort, no sign whatsoever. It was discovered at my regular Breast Screen NSW visit. My first reaction was outright denial, I guess.

I had had the screening and went away on holiday. When I returned, there was a message from Royal North Shore Hospital Breast Screen Unit telling me I needed to come in for a screening. I ignored the call because I had already had my screen. I figured they had their wires crossed.

They rang again and left a couple of messages. Their persistence began to annoy me, so I rang them to set them straight. How wrong I was! I needed to return for another screen, as they had noticed something they wanted to be certain about and double-check. My heart sank. I just knew from that moment that this was not going to be good news for me. As soon as I could, I got in for another screen. I’m a woman who likes to get on and get this stuff over and done with. And so marked the start of my cancer journey … 

Lessons Learnt On My Cancer Journey

To frame such a big lesson in a paragraph or two is impossible, but one of the things I tend to do these days is to say YES to as much as I can. There is no either/or. I ensure that I have all that I am able to have – my answer these days is both/and. I travel. I laugh. I am open to change and move with life as it unfolds. I am more giving and fun, with much less of a sense of preciousness and need to feel in control. Staying healthy and fit is imperative to me, and I am also doing as I’m told by having all my regular checks and follow-ups.

I’ve learned the preciousness of life must never be taken for granted. I love those close to me and hold them tight. I tell them every day that I love them and appreciate them, because one day all I will be is a memory. If that memory is that I loved them, then that will be good enough for me. I also started a regular Breast Cancer Support Group in my local area, to help support people who are going through the same journey. 

To read more about my journey, visit the Pink Hope website.

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