Natalie barely felt like a woman after cancer battle impact

Cancer survivor Natalie Cahill added her story to the inspiration board at Purely Venus. Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin
Cancer survivor Natalie Cahill added her story to the inspiration board at Purely Venus. Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin Allan Reinikka

THE first time Natalie Cahill saw the scar on her chest where one of her breasts once was, she was overcome with emotion."I just balled my eyes out," the breast cancer survivor said.

Puffy and balding from the chemotherapy, and with only one breast, the mother-of-four barely felt like a woman.

But every day Natalie's partner Steve Bartholomaeus would tell her how beautiful she was, and her children would dote on her.

She said the support of all of her family and friends was what got her through the turbulent time.

Natalie didn't see herself as a strong woman back in 2011. But she proved herself wrong.

"You never know how strong you are until strong is all you have" are the words she wrote on a footnote, and stuck on a board with other survivors' notes in the East St mall store Purely Venus.

Shop owner Allie Morris said they were encouraging survivors to share a poem, saying or experience that helped them through their treatment, by filling in a footnote and bringing it in store.

"We will attach all the footnotes to our inspiration poster and display it in our store window during the last week in October," Allie said.

"This way the entire community will be able to share in the inspiration of our survivors."

The store offers mastectomy care, including bras, books and more.

Natalie first went to the shop when she was recovering from the treatment and surgery.

She said she wanted other women to know there was a light at the end of the tunnel, "and it's not necessarily a train" Natalie joked.

"It helps knowing that someone else has been there," Natalie said. "If you can laugh about it, even make jokes about it, that's good."


Pink Ribbon Day

Cancer Council's Pink Ribbon Day on Monday helps raise funds in support of women affected by breast and gynaecological cancers. In Australia about 50 women are diagnosed with breast or a gynaecological cancer every day.

Topics:  breast cancer chemotherapy editors picks

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