In 2004, whilst working as a director of a child care centre, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Following a mastectomy and chemo, I returned to work. I found that there were few appropriate resources to help my preschoolers understand the issues related to cancer. So began a new journey for me.
I wrote a picture book based on my own story and the book 'Safina and the Hat Tree' was published in 2004. It is currently listed as a useful resource and tool by BCNA and NSW Cancer Council to help young children in their understanding of cancer. Writing this book was enormously fulfilling as I always had a desire to write a children's book, but I would never have thought that it would be one related to a personal journey.
Since writing the book, I have stopped working as a director and commenced storytelling; doing performances in preschools using stories, song and dance, masks, puppets and hats and sharing magic time with these young children!! I continued on this career path until January 2008 when I was diagnosed with cancer in the other breast.
Throughout the year, following a mastectomy and treatment, I have again rekindled my creative juices, working together with a dear friend creating a storytelling quilt to help me express and reflect on the emotions of this current journey. Again, I would never have believed that one day I would work on a project involving fabric, threads, design, colour, drawing, skills I did not know I had!!
I believe my cancer journeys have allowed me to explore a creative self which had been lying dormant for many years! I continue to be creative in writing stories for my grandchildren and engaging them in storytelling performances, and hope in the near future to be able to return to storytelling professionally.