Each and everyone of us experience tough times throughout our lives, hoping I can inspire others through difficult times in theirs.
On the 18/01/2018, my life changed. I was diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer.
Looking back to then, I was in shock but always remained positive. At the age of 26, it felt very surreal and I was so oblivious to what was ahead of me. Hanging onto the fact that I caught it early was always at the forefront of my mind. If I was having a bad day, I’d remind myself of this and that I was lucky to be in Canada, as the healthcare here was like getting private healthcare in Ireland, if not better and at no cost to me. In the space of 6 weeks, I had two surgery’s, CT scan, a body check, a photo shoot, radioactive dye injections and ultrasound done, along with a number of other appointments. The second surgery was more intense putting me out of work for 8 weeks due to fatigue and recovery, this being the most challenging phase. I then had just over three weeks to wait for the test results praying for good results. I had a wide local excision done on my right upper arm and a sentinel lymph node biopsy under my arm to determine if it had spread.
To think that I’d been living here for 7 months and to receive the healthcare I have, I will be forever grateful. For this reason alone, and especially being diagnosed with cancer, the best option and decision for me was to stay in Canada.
For anyone to go through this is difficult and without family even harder, however it was definitely the right decision for me from a medical perspective. I had my mam with me for two weeks after surgery, a stressful time in both of our lives, but one that made us stronger than ever. It broke my heart the evening she left thinking how hard it must have been for her to leave me here, a bond like no other and something I’ll never forget, my number one
The thing with cancer, is that until you actually go through something like this you can never fully understand what the journey involves, each persons different. Looking back, I can see that I was in shock, but what kept me going was positive thinking and knowing how lucky I actually was.
If I was still in Ireland, I wouldn’t have gone to the doctor to get checked. What turned out to be a tumor looked like a red spot on my right upper arm (importance of body checks). A colleague seen it, and advised me to get it checked. For this reason alone, I went to the doctor and thank god I did. It had grown rapidly in the short space of time I had it (I first noticed it October 2017). I went to the doctor the end of November and was referred to the dermatologist and hospital in January.
And from there on it’s just been one big emotional whirlwind, always having more good days than bad trying my best to stay strong and positive.
The main thing I wanted to do and most importantly is to highlight how our own behaviour can actually greatly influence our risk of developing melanoma skin cancer. Doing tanning beds alone increases risk by 75%! It’s the one thing that you see so many people doing without actually knowing these kinds of statistics. While there are other factors (getting really badly sunburned, genetics, pale skin and irregular moles) this is something I really wanted to highlight for people as it is something the majority of us have all done/do without actually considering the harm we could possibly do to our health.
The reality is, is that we all think we are invincible to such thing happening to us until it does. It is one of the most popular types of skin cancers for young people between the ages of 15-29 causing the highest number of deaths.
If I can prevent one person from going through this journey by highlighting these facts, I’ll be a happy lady.
There’s a lot to be said for being grateful and positive thinking, it really does go a very long way. I always believed I would be okay and did everything in my power to remain positive and reduce stress throughout this journey. If I was having a bad day, I’d write down what I had to be grateful for, read books, go for a walk, listen to a podcast along with meditating every morning, I’d do whatever I had to, to keep myself in a positive and grateful mindset.
I’m coming out of this on the other side stronger than ever. There’s always good to be found in all situations and that’s where you’ll find your strength to get you through anything.
(I wrote this part of my story while still unsure if I had an all-clear diagnosis. I truly believe it was my mental state by consistently working daily to keep my energy in a high vibration that assisted in my healing)
On the 26th of March I received the news I’d been waiting to hear, the news I believed I would get, that I got the all clear.
Feeling on top of the world right now.
It was said to me in the beginning that ‘It’s nearly like grieving for yourself because you’ll never be the same again’. To which I responded, I know I’ll never complain about the small things again, I look at it as a positive.
A positive mindset is the strongest thing you’ll ever have.
And here I am now, with a whole new perspective on life.
In less than just four months, I have beat cancer and I am extremely proud of myself.
Special thanks to those who supported me in your own individual ways throughout all of this, the texts, phone calls and kind gestures, I’ll never forget it.
New month, new chapter, forever grateful.
No matter what you have faced or are currently facing, you too can overcome it. Anything is possible ♡