In November 2004 I was diagnosed with breast cancer.
I had subsequent surgery to remove the tumour and a course of radiation. I had lymph nodes taken from under the right armpit and under the elbow.
After initial recovery, my rehabilitation became quite painful and it soon became apparent that my nerves in my arm were not going to heal as expected, thus causing me considerable pain and loss of feeling along with regular bouts of lymphoedema.
My career was restaurant managing and it became apparent that I would not be able to continue working. My life has changed dramatically since that decision.
My husband and I downsized our home and soon became acquainted with our new neighbours – an elderly couple who were just like a mum and dad to me – keeping an eye out for me on a daily basis.
After they passed away, I realised that I had been blessed to have such a wonderful opportunity getting to know George and Dorothy and being able to assist where possible as they were ageing.
I then approached the local aged care facility to see if I could volunteer and offer some assistance.
It has been more than eight years since that decision and I have had the most amazing experience connecting with these beautiful individuals, learning more about them and myself with each step I take.
We play bingo together, we chat, we listen to music, but most of all we share our stories of life and how it is – many have been through major upheavals in their own life and can muster up smiles every time they see me.
What a privilege it is, and this is the sweet side of life, changing when you come to a crossroad called breast cancer. Life can give you so much back when you stop to help others.