‘It changed my life for the better’, says breast cancer survivor


Opinion – My cancer journey has always been one I have reflected on with positivity.

It was a painful and life-threatening journey but in trying to find the silver lining, the experience has also given me so much.

My attitude of gratitude has been raised a million times more than if I had not stared death in the face. It has made me value the human spirit and the endeavours of people, to give love and bring joy.

But most importantly, it has allowed me to become a different person – someone who sees the best in others, some- one who is not phased by the little things and small-mindedness, and some- one who has taken a chance in entrepreneurship.

I might not have done this, if I did not fully understand how short life was, and the importance of trying to live your dreams.

Time and risk means something different to me now.

The best thing that has happened though, aside from becoming an entrepreneur, is that I also became a mom to a miracle little girl, who is 11 years old.

I was told the treatment did a lot of damage to my body and having a child was impossible, but my little girl contradicted medical science and arrived in Breast Cancer Awareness Month, no less.

She looks like her dad, but has my spirit and eyes. I once told my oncologist, who after telling me I couldn’t have children suggested I adopt, that I did not want to consider adoption because I “wanted to see my own eyes staring back at me”.

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The only physical feature that she has inherited from me are her big brown eyes. If that isn’t a message from the universe, I don’t know what is.

I have also turned 43 this year, and that is significant because there was a time when I didn’t think I would see my 30th birthday, having being diagnosed at the tender age of 28.

All in all, it has been a roller- coaster ride over the past 12 years since remission and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I love my fast-paced life, packed with experiences. It feels like I live every day to its fullest. I don’t want to just exist. I’m older, wiser and I have lived through cancer – enough said.

I’m grateful that I get to live another day – I will not waste that opportunity. I will tick things off my bucket list and I will make memories.

I make sure my life is filled with amazing people, wonderful experiences and memorable events.

As an entrepreneur, I get to do something I love and talk about the things I am professionally passionate about every day, even with the added stress of owning a business in a recession.

I’m trying to make sure I’m around a long time to see my little girl grow up into the citizen of the world I want her to be; by eating healthy, daily exercise, regular check-ups, managing stress levels as best as I can and spending quality time with those I hold dear.

I live for my husband and daughter – they are my reason for everything. I do not waste time on things that do not add value to my life, or people who are not authentic and sincere (even from a business perspective), as my life, post cancer, is very much about not wasting precious time.

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For me, it’s about making memories and leaving a legacy that will last long after I have left this world.

Cheers to cancer. May I never know you again, but may I always remember what you have taught me.

Yavi Madurai, is the managing director of Black Box Theory, a consultancy specialising in digital strategies for a digital world. 

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