BY LUCIE MORRIS-MARR
I was told, matter-of-factly, that I had a large primary tumour in my colon, and that it had spread to my liver. Now, as I mark three years since my initial diagnosis—a milestone I only had a 45% chance of reaching—I’ve taken time to reflect on the many lessons I’ve learned along the way.
Before I was diagnosed I thought I’d been relatively healthy. I drank very little alcohol, I often cycled and swam, and ate fruit, salad and vegetables as much as possible. But I wasn’t consistent enough.
When I was diagnosed, some friends seemed to ‘freeze’ and seemed unsure how to help, while others came rushing to the door with care packages. I felt the support and generosity of some, and also learnt to smile and move on when cousins or friends said the wrong thing.
Before my diagnosis I occasionally found myself spending time with people I found draining or difficult because I didn’t want to be rude. Once I started cancer treatment, I realised that I couldn’t afford to waste strength or inner resources on people who steal my energy.
Early detection can save a lot of very aggressive treatment and also save lives, so regular health checks, including mammograms, cholesterol checks, and blood tests are vital.
When faced with a life-threatening diagnosis, you are sometimes so far down a deep, dark well of emotions and pain that the simple act of planting a seedling and seeing it grow or a neighbour dropping off homegrown lemons makes your heart sing.
Since my diagnosis, we’ve rescued a cat, I try to attend every school event or special activity I can with my kids, and we upgraded our tent for a caravan so we could do more family camping trips.
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