Noralle goes to sleep thinking about cancer and wakes up thinking about cancer.
She was first diagnosed with breast cancer last year, a few days after her 29th birthday.
“When the doctor told me, it was like being stabbed. Like being cut so deep you’re numb at first but you know it’s bad and it’s going to hurt later. That pain hasn’t stopped.”
After her initial diagnosis, Noralle began planning a ‘cancer-free’ party.
“I thought if I had something to look forward to, I could at least have something positive at the end of all the treatments,” she says.
Noralle won’t have that party she was planning. The cancer had spread to her liver and lungs and was now terminal.
“It was like putting me on a cliff and trying to push me over the edge. It was like in the movies when people are talking but you can’t hear what they’re saying. After I heard “the cancer has spread” my whole world came crashing down again.”
Noralle says it’s weird to think about dying so often but it’s her reality.
“I never forget I have it. Sometimes I get the rare pleasure of not thinking about it for an hour or two. But I never forget.”
“I still have so much left to achieve in life. Pre-cancer I had my dream job that I had worked so hard for. I wanted to start saving for a house. But I’m not going to get the chance to see most of my dreams come true. How do I make sense of that?”
At just 30, Noralle finds it hard to talk about her cancer diagnosis with others.
“People don’t know how to react. Their shoulders curl over and they don’t want to talk anymore. It’s hard telling people. They’re often too scared to ask questions and then it’s awkward.”
To others, Noralle usually has to explain what advanced breast cancer is and what it means.
“I don’t have liver and lung cancer, I have breast cancer that has spread to my liver and lungs. People don’t get the ‘scan, treat and repeat’ that is my life now.
“The thing is, the scan is just a picture for that moment and it can all change so quickly. That’s what keeps me awake at night.”