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Natalie was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 25. Cancer changed her life, her outlook and herself and now advocates for self-checking.


Cancer. We see TV ads and posters about it all the time. But when you actually have cancer it feels like a forbidden word, like saying Voldemort out loud. Although after the last few months facing the Dark Lord sounds like something I could tackle. Now getting back on track, the c-word is generally hard to accept, and it was no exception to a 25 year old. I’ll be honest; by the time I was diagnosed in August 2019, it wasn’t a surprise. Even through my numb reaction, I thought to myself, ‘of course it’s me’. One out of five young people have cancer and I had become a reluctant statistic. The breast cancer news hit me particularly hard as I had been travelling the last few months to mark a celebratory end of my 3 years abroad, including 2 years in Australia.  The truth is I was aware of my lump while travelling, stubbornly I decided to wait a few weeks until I was back home to go to the doctors. If you take anything from reading this, please act as soon as you can even if it does scare you.

The truth of the matter is that cancer changes your life, your outlook and most importantly you. I found there was a ton of ‘hard stuff’ to manage such as experiencing fertility treatment to freeze your eggs and the ‘joy’ of chemo brain. But all of this leads to becoming a new you, a different you but in some ways a better you. Now not to sound like a self-help book but remember the following. Be open to finding your new normal. Be kind and patient with yourself. Lastly, whenever you have your doubts, remember you are 100% enough.

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