Today Is The First Day Of The Rest Of My Life

Who could make a sun and sky so perfect but God?

I woke up this morning to an amazing clear sky and a beautiful sun. There was a light breeze blowing and the air smelled so fresh and clean. This is what I imagine Heaven would be like.

One year ago today, at this time (8am as I am writing this) I was in Gleneagles Hospital being prepped for my mastectomy. The sky was pregnant with storm clouds when I left home, and by 8, it was raining sheets.

My heart is filled with gratitude and with joy that I am alive today. What the devil meant for evil, God meant for good. Losing all my breast tissue felt like hell for me that day, but today, one year on, I thank God for the wisdom of my doctor. Because the cancer cells were already present in so many of my milk ducts, had he tried a lumpectomy, I would now have not just a deformed breast, but I would have lived in fear that some cancer cell did not get caught and was multiplying happily in what was left of my breast. Instead, the removal of my breast tissue cleared every doubt, so much that I didn’t need chemo or radiation or even hormone drugs.

A tiny butterfly flew into our house and settled in a spot of sunlight. This photo captures how I feel sometimes.

Last week I had an opportunity to share my cancer story with the Women & Parent Advisory Teams of Great Eastern. I never imagined, one year after my cancer, that I would be talking to life planners. But that’s just how God works – you never really know what He’s putting you through something for. After my short presentation many of the life planners came to talk to me and ask questions. Some shared that they were very touched. One woman, whose husband died recently of cancer, cried as she told me how fortunate I was.

Seeing the reactions, I was in my heart grateful to God, because I knew that if these planners could understand what their clients are going through, or what their clients are trying to avoid — if they have a family history like mine — then, they would be better equipped to really help these women buy the kind of protection that gives them complete peace of mind.

French fries at the beach with Little B

One year on, I thank the Lord for the many hours and minutes I have had to share with my children. I am so grateful I get to be at home with them when they are awake. It has meant that sometimes I need to start my work at 10pm (and crash at midnight because I no longer have staying-up power!), but it’s worth all the moments they share their deepest wishes and worst fears with me, even as we do the most mundane things like supermarket shopping or dreaded homework!

Watching Taylor Swift in concert with Middle B was one of this year's big highlights.

I’m super, super glad that I can go to church every weekend and worship God! The weeks after my operation that I had to stay home and watch service on the Internet were some of my least favourite (though I have to thank God that I could listen to service at ALL!). I’m grateful that I could hobble back to church after a few months, and now, I don’t need anyone to hold my arm as I get to my seat.

Big B letting his baby sister's classmates turn him into a "muscleman". Love the good sport that he is!

I’m grateful for my husband, whose sweet face I stare at every night before I fall asleep (he’s always asleep before I am), who has been my driver, my cheerleader, my Magic Milo Maker, my joke-teller, my movie companion. I’m so happy I get to spend time with this awesome person God made just for me.

The man God gave to me

I did share this with the Great Eastern planners: One never knows if one will get cancer again. The only protection against it is to be prepared: eat well, rest sufficiently, manage stress and know that if God has brought you through it once, you can trust that He has your best at heart, always.

I thank God for this blog, through which I have met some of the bravest, most resilient women and men I have ever had the privilege to meet.

I pray in the next year I will be diligent to keep this blog going, and even hazard a meetup! (if everybody is game)

Thank you for being with me through the last 365 days of my life. I hope you’ll join me for another 365 and beyond.

Oops! I Missed My “First Anniversary”!

11 June 2010 was the day I first felt the pain in my right breast.

I was planning to make a big hoohah about crossing my first anniversary of my cancer discovery.

But it came and went and I totally forgot about it—till today!

Me and the pool babies

On 11 June 2011, I was on Sentosa Island with my children and husband, having a whale of a time in the splendid pools of Rasa Sentosa which reopened early this year.

My little islanders

I mean, between fun in the sun and recalling the fears and worries of a year ago, which is more appealing?

I’m very very very happy that I can be here, one year on, writing this blog and being alive to enjoy the family God gave me.

A toast to THAT!

Slip-sliding away!