By LAURIE MARSDEN
Cancer took me by surprise. I thought I was too young, I had no family history, and most importantly I really had no breasts. When I was 16 and a 32AA, my brother said (truthfully) that mozzie bites were bigger. Nothing much changed as I grew older.
Except, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. And my world became a blur of surgeries and treatment.
It was a truly shitty experience, and yet paradoxically it was a real gift. Here’s why:
1. It clarified my life.
All those worries that seemed so important instantly melted away. You know the kind of thing: why can’t the kids get ready for school on time without being bribed? The stress of juggling schedules and feeling like I was always running somewhere; the house being messier than I’d like; my bumps and bulges reminding me I wasn’t Miranda Kerr in a bikini. Those concerns disappeared. I looked at family, friends, connections and meaningful moments as what truly mattered. They were what I should focus on.
2. It made me more appreciative.
As the worry left and the important things became clearer, I started to appreciate what I had. It was like, “Wow, I don’t really have it so bad.” How had I not seen all the blessings that surrounded me, big and small? Healthy children, a solid partner, beautiful sunny days, the taste of a good meal, the feel of a refreshing breeze, the smile of a passing stranger.