When writer Emma Markezic was diagnosed with Grade 3 breast cancer at age 34, her first reaction was to buy silk pyjamas.
“I knew I’d be going into hospital and thought it was a good excuse to splurge. That was after I got astonishingly drunk, of course,” Emma recalls. “You can’t predict how you’ll react to these things until they happen and I went full throttle on the things I know best: red wine and ASOS.”
Shopping expeditions aside, Emma clearly remembers hearing the doctor’s diagnosis and then immediately thinking “I can do this.”
“That was it … ‘I can do it,’” she recalls. “I made sure I didn’t waver from that outlook at all.”
It was a mantra she stuck to throughout the next year, even during three painful operations,including a double mastectomy and breast reconstruction; even when her boyfriend broke up with her just before she began chemotherapy and even when her hair fell out on her birthday. “These were all things I couldn’t change. Seeing my hair in the drain was the least of my worries,” says Emma.
“However, I realised pretty quickly that the people around me clearly expected a full-frontal breakdown. And all I had was this overriding feeling of quaking fortitude.”
It’s this unwavering strength in the face of adversity that defines the concept