This time last year my world changed forever.
11 April 2012 was a warm sunny day in Cape Town. We had been having such a wonderful holiday seeing my parents with our new baby. That day I had what I thought were just more routine tests following difficulty with breast feeding… But as I had yet another ultrasound, I could tell that something wasn’t right… From the changed demeanour of the doctor, from the big dark patches on the screen. This was followed by a mammogram, which was excruciatingly painful on the side with the malignancy and then finally confirmation of a reality that I had not dared to speak.
It was cancer.
And it was in this moment that everything changed and the bottom fell out of my world. It felt like all of my hopes and dreams had been robbed from me in that instant and they had been replaced by something ugly and difficult, something unwanted, so horrible that some people won’t even say the word. Cancer. In that moment the world seemed a very dark and hopeless place and as I faced my own mortality for the very first time I was terrified.
Following my diagnosis we kicked into survival mode, and getting through each day was an achievement in itself. The months that followed were a blur of treatment and tests, countless visits to the hospital and time spent on the sofa. It was gruelling both physically (chemo in particular does nasty things to your body) as well as mentally (the battle against fear is one that I have had to fight with every ounce of strength I can muster).
But here I am. One year on. Since my diagnosis I have turned 30, had two haircuts, celebrated my baby’s first birthday, and seen my hope rebuilt. I am now beginning to dream again and that is truly wonderful.
I have learnt many things this past year. One of the things I have come to realise is just how much I want to live! And I don’t mean just survive or go through the motions every day. I want to REALLY live! I want to savour each day, take time to be quiet, to enjoy nature, my boy’s development, to pursue my dreams with reckless abandon, to sing at every opportunity, to love my husband and family fiercely, and to run after God with everything I have in me.
That is what having cancer has taught me. To really live and to seek the John 10:10 reality of the abundant life that God promises.