It was a beautiful autumn afternoon in Upper East Side, New York. After a day meandering around Central Park and popping in and out of the boutique clothing stores, I thought best to retire to my hotel room for some much-needed R&R. It was on this afternoon that I finally acknowledged that my right breast appeared to be looking more fabulous and fuller than the other, and it was on this afternoon that I found a large, distinct lump. Although quite shocked, I dismissed the lump as hormonal changes, that might result in a cyst or something. I’d had a breast check at the doctor two years prior, so cancer wasn’t even on my radar, especially not while holidaying in New York!
As per the schedule, a week later I arrived back home in Australia and the whirlwind begun; I was thrown from left to right, from appointment to appointment. After multiple surgeries and some neat and tidy battle scars, before I knew it I was walking through the oncology doors to commence chemotherapy. I had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Receiving this news at 35 was the last thing I ever expected to hear. It was confronting, confusing and very frightening. Cancer was certainly not part of my life plan.
I endured chemotherapy for 6 months and attended my regular checkups. Things seemed to be stabilising. Unfortunately, however, there was more bad news to come. Two years following my initial diagnosis came the news of secondary breast cancer, in the liver and quite possibly the lungs.
This challenging news also unleashed a newfound determination in me: not to let cancer, chemotherapy, radiation or a double mastectomy define who I was. And I sure as hell wasn’t going to let it define how I looked.
As business owner, foodie, traveller, makeup artist and lover of everything beautiful (and country girl at heart) I have decided to share with others who are living with cancer (and even those who are not) my tips, tricks and insights to looking healthy and radiant on the outside, as I so desperately wanted my body to be on the inside. (My first tip is that the stories and anecdotes I share should not be taken as ‘bible’ but rather enjoyed and emulated where you see fit!)
This journey is about living with cancer graciously, while ensuring cancer does not define my life.
PS. Oh, so you may be wondering about the name of my blog? If you haven’t already had that awkward moment with a friend or family member about cancer, trust me, you will (more than one, I can assure you!). Mine came when I was diagnosed with secondary cancer. As I fought through tears to catch up with my gorgeous friend, after some comforting words and quiet contemplation, my friend said, “If something really terrible happens Loz, do you promise to give me a piece of your jewellery that means something to you?” My response was simply that I’m not going anywhere, anytime soon, so you can leave my jewellery out of this! My friend felt terrible and kept apologising, she had never meant it to sound that way and I guess was contemplating the possibility of losing one of her best friends. In any case, we laugh about it now, and the story has stuck!