Being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012 was one of the worst moments of Natalie Stanway’s life.
“I distinctly remember walking down Mitchell Street back to work, because I went back to work after, after I went to St John, and I literally felt like I'd been hit by a bus,” she says.
“I just felt completely winded, like someone had smacked me, I didn't know what to think or what to do.”
But it was also the beginning of a journey that would bring her closer to her two daughters, Kim and Caity, than would have otherwise been possible and take her from an uninspiring but dependable life working in a bank to living her dream working full time for the State Emergency Service.
“You sort of think how do I want to spend the rest of my time now that I've actually had that wake up call that my time is finite,” she says.
“I found that I didn't want to keep doing what I was doing for a job, I wanted to know that what I did with my life made a difference to people.”
For Kim and Caity, the months their mother spend in treatment were also tough, especially when she was too sick to even give them a cuddle when they needed it most.
But Kim, who’s now 13, also noticed positive changes in her mother and in herself.
“After all this she kind of realised 'Well why can’t I do what I want to do’ and so I think she became more focused on what she wanted to achieve in her life and she's become more determined and she's become a stronger woman out of it I think, yeah, she's grown a lot,” she says.
“Beforehand the smallest thing, I would kind of lose my head over, but then throughout it I kind of realised that there were bigger things that I should be worried about, not just the little things that I think would be the end of the world when they really don’t matter.”
So when faced with the question at the end of it all, if Natalie could snap her fingers and take it all back, no cancer, no treatment, no career change, would she do it?
Download the podcast to find out the answer and hear Natalie’s story in her own words.