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"My life with cancer is painfully uncertain. But it's taught me 6 lessons I'm certain of."

My name is Natalie. I’m 25. I’m a writer, and a Stage 4 melanoma fighter. I have no idea what I’m doing in life, and that’s a hard pill to swallow.

My days are filled with idleness and uncertainty when all I want to do is move forward and establish a new normal. I want to have a career but no one will give me a chance because of my health. I want to have a family, but I don’t know if I will be able to. I want to live until I’m 80, but who knows if I’ll see 30.

I mourn the version of myself that I thought was forever, and every day, I’m left with no choice but to dive headfirst into this ‘new person’ I’m still figuring out. ⁣

Listen to sisters Rachelle and Corinne speak candidly about why you must talk to your family about their health and cancer. Post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia


I know we all can’t be promised tomorrow, and that these feelings aren’t just my own. They’re felt by all who have had their bodies turn against them. Cancer is life-changing. Truly. And that’s just putting it mildly. There’s a new normal we must learn, our feet forever walking the fine line between the ‘before’ and ‘after’. ⁣

Sure, there are elements of beauty in my new-found life. I’m more aware of just how treasured my breaths are. Every hug I’m given, I commit to memory. Every laugh I laugh is a joy. Yet, it is a life I didn’t choose for myself. I didn’t sign up for this battle willingly, and to fight a battle insinuates that if one fights hard enough, winning is an option.

That’s not the case when it comes to a disease like this one. Cancer is complex.

There are so many elements to it, it’s hard to fathom for myself just how ruthlessly it dictates my life. And yet, it does and I have to let the terror happen. Because that’s how I learn, and that’s how I can somewhat justify how my life turned out so I can then make the world a better place.

Yesterday, Feb 4, was World Cancer Day. A day that invites a lot of reflection and thought. It’s a day dedicated to sharing experiences, creating awareness and encouraging prevention.⁣

Cancer isn’t something we can turn a blind eye to. As much as we strive for inclusion and diversity, cancer isn’t often included in that list despite it being something that will touch us all at some point in our lives. So, it’s important that we acknowledge it for what it is. It’s a horrible disease that needs awareness in many facets, from fundraising to inclusion in everyday life. ⁣

I’d like to live in a world that sees cancer not considered as a hindrance or a hurdle. That the organisations dedicated to the cause are there to speak with us, not for us. There are so many instances it stops us from living our lives. That along with our toxic bodies, our voices aren’t heard and our freedom of choice is something we reflect upon every day. ⁣It’s for those reasons that I choose to keep speaking about my experience. ⁣

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A post shared by Natalie Fornasier (@nataliefornasier) on

 

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A post shared by Natalie Fornasier (@nataliefornasier) on

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If there’s anything I can share with you all, it’s these few things:

If you’re reading this and you have cancer: Keep going. Just keep f*cking going. One foot in front of the other.

If you’re reading this and you don’t have cancer, I ask you to spare a thought for those who have been given this set of cards. That if you know someone who has/had cancer, that you ask how they are (and mean it!) and give them a hug.

I ask that we acknowledge all cancers and not just a select few. There are over 200 types of cancer, all of which are deserving of the public’s attention.

If you’re not feeling well – go to a doctor. Just do it. Also, get a skin check! Live in a state of appreciation! Life’s a gift, you know the drill.

And lastly, but most importantly, I ask that we acknowledge people with cancer as people, not a disease. Normalcy is all we ask for.

This post originally appeared on Natalie Fornasier’s Instagram and was republished here with full permission. Natalie is a writer, skinfluencer and an ambassador for Call Time On Melanoma, a not-for-profit sun safety initiative founded by Lisa Patulny and inspired by Natalie’s story.

For more information on Call Time On Melanoma and sun safety tips, follow them on Instagram. You can also visit Melanoma Institute Australia for more information about melanoma.

Feature image: Supplied/Natalie Fornasier.

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