A new life after breast cancer

It's strange, how in a single brief moment, just a few words can change one’s life completely. For Yavi Madurai a 33-year-old Johannesburg resident, that moment came on 14 November 2003 with these words from her doctor: "It's breast cancer".

As life around her continued as normal, the earth still spinning on its axis, people still going about their daily lives, hers came to a painful, grinding halt. Hopes, dreams and wishes seemed impossible now.

Before her diagnosis, she lived life in the fast lane – pursuing a career in management, she was ambitious, driven and always on the go. However, she never stopped to appreciate the beauty within the tiny moments of life.

The value of life
But with her knowledge of the cancer growing inside her, Yavi had to stop and rethink her way of life. It was as if her cancer said, “hey listen, wake up, value it”. She began to view the world through different lenses, counting her blessings for things she had previously taken for granted.

She decided that her greatest weapon against cancer would be a positive attitude. Even through the physical and psychological devastation of a partial mastectomy, and the aggressive courses of chemotherapy and radiation, her positivity was unwavering. Yavi soon discovered the inexplicable, yet undeniable power of the mind-body-connection, as her new attitude began to have a marked effect on her recovery.

Cancer was no longer a burden under which she stumbled and faltered. Rather, it was a second chance at life.

Her wish came true
And then, as if by some act of universal synchronicity, Yavi was granted her greatest wish: giving birth to a beautiful baby girl in October, which also happens to be breast cancer month. This survivor had come full circle, from fighting for her life, to giving new life.

She believes that her cancer not only prepared her for the challenges of motherhood, but also gave her a priceless heirloom, a legacy that could be passed onto her daughter; the fundamental values she learnt, that so wholly transformed her life.

Today, Yavi is grateful for every new day and loves getting up in the morning. “I feel alive and know that I am now living in the moment”. Five years after her ordeal with breast cancer she is still cancer-free.

Moments in Time Calender
Yavi is featured in next year's Moments in Time Calendar, an annual project that portrays South African cancer patients, each afflicted with one or other type of cancer, all from different backgrounds, with different life experiences. Imagery and prose are used to tell each patient’s story. – (Health24, October 2008)

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