this is my story
It started when I was 31. I felt a lump. The next week, I felt it get bigger. The doctor confirmed, “You have a very large tumor in a very small breast.”
My instincts were to follow the medical advice. I had chemo + radiotherapy. I had a full mastectomy with no reconstruction. They took out my lymph nodes, to be safe and they were clear. I dodged a bullet.
At least that’s what I thought.
When I was 37, I went to hospital with trouble breathing and they told me I had terminal secondary breast cancer which had metastasised in my lungs. Now, if you haven’t had any experience with cancer, this might not mean that much to you. But it was bad. They told me 75% of my lungs were covered in tumors or had activity. One lung had collapsed completely. They said I might have 12 months - zero chance of surviving 18 months.
I was told, “Go home and put your affairs in order.”
This time, my instincts told me to reject treatment. Instead, I decided to embark on a 365-day of happiness.
I had learned that my greatest hardships brought me my greatest lessons, so I said to myself, “Strap yourself in Di. And learn.”
I decided to spend my last year embracing death, not fighting cancer. I decided to spend it being happy and present in my life and living as naturally as I could for as long as I possibly could.
After 12 months, my husband declared. “You’re a pain in the @ss again. You must be better.”
So I said, let’s have a baby. And less than a month later, I felt the greatest joy of my life when that stick when bright blue. I was full of love for this man who was signing up for life as a solo dad. If we even got there.
I started to dare to think about the future. I thought, “If I don’t make it another nine months, then at least I won’t die alone. That’s pretty amazing.”
And then I thought, “Maybe I could get far enough that the baby could go on without me.”
And then….then I had another idea: “What if I could see this child’s first birthday?”
It was a simple question, not a determination or a decision or a goal or an intention. Just a wondering.
My son is six. There is no sign of cancer in my body.
And so now I’m doing what we all naturally do. Living my life + telling my story. If it helps others see their lives in a different way then maybe it will all start to make sense and I’ll be able to understand why I survived.
Thank you for listening.