“If something doesn’t nourish you, leave it behind.”
Elizabeth Nikol was only 29 when she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. Sixteen years later, she’s a survivor, not just of cancer but of the toll it took on her personal life. But she has no regrets: “Don’t settle in any way for the rest of your days. If you hate your job, find another. If a friend makes you feel bad, dump them. If a relationship is toxic, run for the hills.”
“Diagnosis aside, I’m no closer to the end than anyone else.”
When she was just 34 years old, Sara Olsher was surprised to feel a strange sensation in her breast, similar to breastmilk being let down. With a gut instinct that something was wrong, she repeatedly advocated for early detection. A breast MRI revealed cancer in her milk ducts. “They initially thought it was a very early stage,” she says, “but during my double mastectomy, they discovered it had already spread to one of my lymph nodes. I had a very small tumour no one could feel, and I think it’s really important to note that if I hadn’t followed my instincts, I would have been unlikely to survive this.”
“When hope is in the equation, the odds don’t matter.”
“I’m a 12-year survivor of malignant pleural mesothelioma,” says Heather Von St. James. “When I was diagnosed, I was a 36-year old new mum… given just 15 months to live.” Her quote resonates because the odds of surviving mesothelioma are slim: “My doctor said it to me, and these are the words I live by.” Many cases of mesothelioma are caused by lung damage due to asbestos. Here are some other things that can damage your lungs.