Thank you for visiting my blog. Where to start….

Today, 15th November 2013, I slam the door on my 30’s and open the door, to what I hope, will be a decade filled with wishes come true.

You see, my 30’s were what can only be described as the worst decade ever. A decade defined by cancer and the horror it can leave in its’ wake.

My body tells my story. I am a mum. I am a breast cancer survivor. I love sport. I have the scars to show it.

The experiences of my life are etched onto the canvas of my body and have left an indelible footprint on my soul. And I love my body for it. It has given me the gift of life and I am not ashamed of the scars that I have earned.

That’s why I have shared with you this storyboard of images. To show, that a body after cancer, mastectomy and reconstruction is a wonderful thing. It is a thing to be celebrating: Hope after cancer.

So, a little bit about how I got to here…

My 30’s started off with such promise, I was the proud mummy to two gorgeous children, Conor and Kenzie, I was married and living on an idyllic island in the Hauraki Gulf, Auckland NZ.

Being Irish, I was living the overseas dream.

Then I turned 31. The year was 2005.

In April, my gorgeous poppet Kenzie, who was just 2, was diagnosed with an aggressive bone cancer which left her paralysed and fighting for her life.

Kenzie faced a grueling 12 months of chemotherapy and intensive rehabilitation in an attempt to regain her mobility.

In June my marriage broke up.

In July I was diagnosed with aggressive stage 3 HER2+, hormone receptive breast cancer.

In August I had a double mastectomy.

In September I started 6 months of chemotherapy.

Life was a nightmare. Watching the insidious disease ravage my gorgeous little poppet whilst facing my own cancer journey as a single mum with my friends and family thousands of miles away in Ireland.

I didn't think life couldn’t get much worse.

I was wrong.

In December my beautiful poppet’s little body could no longer do what she needed it to do.

Kenzie joined the angels on 29th December 2005.

I felt my life was over.

But I knew I needed to find the strength to carry on.

Conor needed me more than ever.

In the hours, days, weeks and months that followed, I thought the storm clouds would never pass.

After 6 months of chemotherapy, 6 weeks of radiotherapy & 12 months of Herceptin I started to emerge from the nightmare. One small step at a time I rebuilt my life and began again to enjoy the blessings this world has to offer.

I completed my Bachelors degree in Psychology and Post Graduate Degree in Communications Management and re-entered the workforce. I founded a charity in memory of Kenzie www.kenziesgift.com which provides professional psychosocial support to children affected by cancer.

My son Conor is now 13 and he makes me proud every day. I am watching him grow into an amazing, caring and considerate young man. No child should ever face what he has had to in his young life, but the experience has given him compassion and wisdom beyond his years. I am just so exceptionally proud to be his mum.

Grabbing the gift of life with both hands, every year I seek out a new thrill and adventure. From marathons, triathlons, ocean swims, scuba diving, sky dives, white water rafting, mountain biking expeditions, adventure races and multi sport events, the world is my oyster.

So today is about Celebrating.

Celebrating life after cancer and the gifts it can bring.