For most of my life I was a wanna-be writer. Maybe I would have stayed in that rut all my life, but I got a kick in the pants.

Or maybe it was a kick in the boob. You see, in 2008 I was diagnosed with Stage IIb breast cancer. I had a bilateral mastectomy, chemo and reconstruction. I finished herceptin treatment in October 2009.

In November of 2009 I sat down to write a book (The Sunshine Line).

As I was nearing the end of treatment I thought about how my life had been turned upside down. I was having to adjust to a “new normal”. I realized that I had a great opportunity to shape myself. I decided I wanted to nourish and grow my creative side by writing, taking photographs or making bracelets and do something creative every day. I also decided I wanted to be serene, but I’ve had a little less luck with that.

Some people run a marathon when they’ve survived cancer. I wrote a book. And not one of my fiction novels includes the word “cancer”.

I didn’t need cancer to appreciate my life. I loved my life. I believe the expression “Today is the first day of the rest of your life” is true, and cancer just highlighted that for me. I believe we are all a new person every moment; cancer motivated me to be more active about positive changes, to seek them out and set out to be a new person I could be proud of.

You don’t need to wait for a major event or disaster in your life to decide to re-engineer yourself. Decide who you want to be and set about becoming that person. We are all works in progress.

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