In July 2003 I found a lump in my left breast. The experience was both shocking and frustrating. I was a single mother with two young children, then aged four and six. If anyone had told me there was opportunity in that present difficulty I would probably have lashed out.
Nine years later as I look back there certainly have been opportunities gained from the experience. If I am honest, I would have preferred to learn them differently and the fact that I survived and am still here to tell the tale tells me that all is as it should be.
A couple of years after the experience the girls and I put together and published a small book called "Mommy had an Owie". My oldest daughter illustrated the front cover. Creating the book gave them and I an opportunity to take something that was negative and create something positive that might help other families. If you know someone who has young children who is facing breast cancer I would be happy to send them a copy of the book.
It was my first foray into self publishing - I had previously been published in the UK by a division of Lion Books. I began to evolve the dream, which had been put on hold for several years to raise the girls, of writing for a living. Breast cancer taught me that you just never know how many years you have to live your dreams and that health is not something to be taken for granted.
In some ways I feel I am going backwards as I get older. My professional life which started out creatively and evolved into social services is returning to creativity. Film making, art making, jewellery making and writing are the inspirational activities that take me through the day and that will, one day, bring in my income.
I may not become the next best selling author (or I may). The point and purpose is knowing what is important, what my values and relationships are based on. That what I do is part of who I am when I give myself wholeheartedly into that. I do still work "for a living" in social services and I would not continue if I didn't also enjoy and receive great rewards from this work. Financially it is certainly not the best but the bills do get paid and I am thankful to work with an amazing group of colleagues. I am still learning to balance what is necessary to get through the week and support my girls with activities that are necessary to promote my own and family health and wellness.
Exercise - Reflect on an event that has influenced your life as it is today. Don't worry if the event was positive or negative. What opportunity or information did you gain from that event. What will you do today to take the opportunity further to promote your own journey to health and wellness? When you have reflected take time to write down the event as a story use the chosen outcome that you decided you would do today as the ending.