EVERYTHING happens for a reason…

A simple quote, but I could never disagree to it. I have always said this to family in friends when it has been appropriate and always believed in it for myself when I  have been going through rough patches.

My whole weekend was meant to be. Jess and I going to the Gold Coast (of all places?!) was just surreal for all the unbelievable things that happened. I don’t even know where to start?

This was our first purchase!

Originally, the reason why we went to the GC was because of Jess. She needed to go for work purposes and a couple of months ago I had said ‘Ohhh! If I am well enough I want to come!’ So it all just fell into place and before we knew it, we were there. Jess did her work interview straight after our plane landed which I came along to and then we had the rest of the weekend to enjoy till early monday morning. We were so tired and slept for a few hours after the interview before cruising out and getting some food and a taste of Surfer’s Paradise. Not really our kind of place but we made it fun and made the most of being somewhere different!

Friday night I had an email/blog comment alert come through from Karen Phillips, the author of the book I posted a photo of me with not too long ago saying that she would love to catch up with Jess and I as she actually lived in Gold Coast! Karen left me her email to contact her so I was so excited as you can imagine and really wanted to catch up with her. I emailed her and we talked on the phone and arranged to meet on the sunday.

On saturday we went to Robina Town Centre. As we had researched where was good to go shopping, Robina is apparently the first choice shopping destination for Gold Coast locals and is a must see for visitors. This place was huge! We spent the whole day here shopping, eating and just enjoying the atmosphere of it all.

Whilst walking through the mall, something caught my attention in the corner of my eye. I stopped walking and went back to a store that had several big white pot plants with lots of fake cherry tree branches blooming out from them. Attached to the branches were strings of hundreds of baby paper cranes with beautiful assorted japanese papers and colours. I must have looked like a kid in a candy shop! I was walking around observing each and every one of them and trying to work out if they were for sale or just decorations of the lovely home-ware store. Finally I saw a price tag on one for $19.95 so I was of course going to buy one. The lady had been looking at me since I entered the store and seemed as if she thought I was weird lurking around the trees for so long until I asked for one of the crane mobiles. She was a little quiet and didn’t make much conversation so I said ‘these are so beautiful, they mean a lot to me.’ The lady was intrigued and asked ‘i see, why is that?’ I continued with telling her how Lynz has been sending me get well wish cranes once a week for months now as I have been unwell. She wished me well and asked what was wrong. As I briefly told her, her face dropped and she was in shock to realise I was wearing a wig and looked so healthy and happy. She gave me a huge hug and as I pulled out the cost of the crane in a five dollar note and several coins, she said ‘no, this one is from me. I want to give this to you free of charge.’ I didn’t feel too comfortable about it and was trying to give her money, but she wouldn’t accept it so I gave in and thanked her over and over again with a huge smile. The mobile is now hanging from the shelf above my computer desk to inspire me as I write!

My - currently messy - work station
Cranes

Next we walked into a gift shop with lots of different bits and pieces. I bought some special things for a special someone – who I cannot name because they read my blog 😉 and when I got to the counter I saw lots of little boxes of 3 pack of rose confetti soap scented pink roses. Attached to the box there was a card saying ‘think pink foundation.. enabling a better journey through breast cancer’ so I bought them to promote a safe journey for myself. There was some more information inside the card which made me happy. It said…

Whilst research is continuing in the quest for a cure for breast cancer, there are very real needs for women and men now living with the fight for survival. When you are undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy, it’s hard to hold down a job , the bills continue to roll in, the struggle to live is compounded by the struggle to survive. This is where the Think Pink Foundation is able to provide a helping hand.

The Think Pink Foundation exists to improve quality of life and enable a better journey through breast cancer.

The Foundation provides emotional and practical support through The Living Centre. This non hospital based, independent facility offers a range of services free of charge, including fully qualified breast care nurses and trained peer support volunteers. The Living Centre’s focus is wellness not illness, our goal is to support and empower.

The Think Pink Foundation also raises funds to provide financial support to patients in need through our partner organisations.

Our nurturing and support of people experiencing breast cancer is reflected in the Foundation’s unique logo, the caring hand within the pink ribbon.

Scented roses

We walked around for about 5 minutes or so and I decided to call my mum and tell her about the wonderful gift I got. After a couple of minutes of walking and talking and I stopped to finish the conversation with mum and looked to my left just to see what kind of store I had stopped out the front of. Can you believe it? It was a shop full of wigs, head scarfs, bandanas and more. I had to go in there! I had a browse then decided to ask the young girl what the best size scarf is for tying around my head. She was so nice and showed asked me to take a seat and she wanted to show me all these different turbans and scarfs and all these awesome ways of tying them to change it up and make it fun! The girl ended up telling me that when she was 16 years old she had Lymphoma and also went through chemotherapy and had lost all her hair. The same cancer as Delta Goodrem. She is now 20 years old and I was blown away by how unreal her hair was! It was thick, wavy and so long that it definitely would have touched the bottom of her bra from the back. I asked her how long it took her to grow that long and she said ‘one month after chemo was finished it started to grow back and was a mousey brown colour then after three months it was growing like crazy and went a reddish colour and very curly. It’s now been almost three YEARS and its this long and naturally WHITE blonde and now not curly, but just a slight wave to it’. She bent forward and showed me her re-growth which really was very white blonde. The rest of her hair was a really nice auburn colour as she doesn’t particularly like how blonde she now naturally is! So wow?! I have so much to look forward to! My hair is a mousey brown colour at the moment and its been just over a month since I recovered from my last heavy chemo (not including Herceptin) so I may also have all that to experience.

Whilst I was trying all these amazing things on, I had a lady come up to me with her young son and daughter. At the time I was putting my wig back on and about to make my purchases when this lady said ‘WOW where did you get that wig from? It looks so good! I wear them too and would have never known?!’ I told her I was from Perth and where I got it from. Her daughter was so cute and was saying ‘you are so pretty I love your wig’. It really made my day. The lady and I chatted and laughed about all the cool accessories we had to choose from and I showed her the ones I was about to buy. I think she ended up getting a few of the same things! Jess whispered to me at one point ‘that lady also has a port in her chest! I can see the scar and it’s just like yours. Plus, I think she has breast cancer but I don’t want to make it obvious I am trying to look’.. I went to the counter to purchase my items until it hit me! I should open the packet of three roses I bought from the gift store and give her one. I walked back over to her where she was re-adjusting her wig and said.. Sorry to bother you, but may I ask.. is it breast cancer you are being treated for? She said ‘no.. I actually have back cancer. Its my second time from having it ten years prior but I am definitely handling it better this second time!’ I apologised and wished her well, then said ‘Just before I came into this store I bought these (showed her) roses which are supposed to enable a better journey through breast cancer. I wanted to give you one, even if it isn’t breast cancer you have – I’d still like to offer you one!’ I could tell from the look on her face that she felt kind of special I had offered. Both her and her daughter smiled and thanked me as she accepted my gift. I felt pretty good about myself after I left for sharing my roses with her.

Anyway, I bought one scarf and two turban kind of scarfs a medical cap (like a tight beanie that goes under my wig to stop the itchiness and rashes, then also a fringe. Okay so this sounds really weird, but it’s just a fringe on an elastic band that goes around my head so I can wear that under hats or scarfs to make it look like I have hair under it.

Turban #1
Turban #2
Head scarf
Bangs baby!
Trying out my new bangs and turban

After we were done with Robina shopping, we called a cab to take us back. Our cab driver was this lovely Asian man named Bobby-Lee. Another ‘meant to be’ situation. He must have vibed something off us as he was such a smart, spiritual, generous and happy man. He talked to us about ‘everything happens for a reason’ kind of things which was crazy because of the things we had already been experiencing that weekend!? We talked non-stop for about 20 mins on the trip back to our room and he asked for my email address so he could send me more inspiring thoughts and motivating things. He didn’t even know I was sick till towards the end of the cab ride. He was also a diabetic! Whilst explaining something, he pulled out his diabetic pen and Jess and I laughed so much and squealed ‘WE BOTH USE THEM TOO! AND OUR MUM!’ I gave him my business card and yes, he emailed me that very next day…

hi rachel !!

here’s more from your cab ride….listen to your soul..not the heart..the soul never dies……your body is only a temporary case carrying the expression of the soul..u find your true self by listening to your soul….which is the truth…then it will set u free….so have no fear of disease or the cancer u have …u’ll c beauty in life…as it was quoted by the bible.” it is in heaven and it is on earth”

here’s the message

waIT FOR MY NEXT EMAIL.

X BOBBY LEE

He attached a file which had lots of photos and with each photo was a quote. Here are a few of my favorite ones…

  • Forgive everyone for everything
  • What other people think of you is none of your business
  • However good or bad a situation is, it will change
  • No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up
  • Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed
  • Dream more while you are awake
  • Life isn’t fair but it’s still good
  • Don’t compare your life with others’, you have no idea what their journey is about

Thanks Bobby-Lee.

So it was soon saturday night and I remembered I had a couple of friends who actually moved to the Gold Coast from Perth to live not that long ago. Maddy and Emily who are also sister. So I texted them to see if they wanted to catch up for drinks/a night out. We all went out and had so many cocktails and ended up pretty drunk! It was a good night and we were glad we made the most of the night but I was also trying not to get too messy because I had planned to meet Karen the next day!

Jess @ East Bar
Me @ East Bar

Sunday morning I woke up feeling pretty fresh for a day after drinking so many cocktails. I was so glad I felt good because I was so keen to meet Karen. Karen and her lovely husband Tony came and picked us up from where we were staying in a beautiful red BMW convertible! We were so overwhelmed. The couple were beyond words amazing. They took us on a little cruise along the water with the roof off in the car, I felt like a queen as we were just treated with so much loyalty, respect and I don’t know..? Just the fact we were with two people with beautiful souls. Firstly they took us to a gorgeous place called Glass Dining and Lounge Bar which is located in the award-winning Marina Mirage complex and overlooks the spectacular views of the Gold Coast in Broadwater. We all got along so well and talked about life, Karen’s book, my blog, inspiring women and much, much more. She was telling me all these amazing stories – one to mention, Olivia Newton-John, also a breast cancer survivor who Karen knows and is one of the inspiring women she interviewed for her book!

Glass

We then took a stroll around the marina and ended up at the Palazzo Versace Hotel! It was absolutely stunning. We enjoyed a coffee and further chat here with Karen and Tony. So many great things were discussed and Karen told me herself that my writing was great. I am so inspired and writing a book is definitely going to be on my list of things to do. Karen put it in a good point of view for me, basically I am already writing a book, being my blog. Each post I write, is a page to my book. You can only imagine the adrenaline running through my body through these positive and inspiring words! She told me that she had emailed my blog address to the 50 inspiring women she had interviewed in her book and it blew my mind. Women such as Miranda Kerr (someone who I have admired since I was about 14? in 1997 or so), Olivia Newton-John, Carla Zampati, Terri Irwin, Cathy Freeman, Collette Dinnigan and many other women of substance! (As Karen would say!)

Jess & I @ Palazzo Versace

Soon I will have more photos from this day to post from Karen’s camera thanks to Tony for being the photographer for the day!

When Karen and Tony took us back home in their sexy little car, Karen handed both Jess and I a little present. A 3-colour palette of eyeshadows and a miniature bottle of ‘Versace For Women’ which every time I will wear, will keep me inspired and remind me of this life changing woman I once met and one day, hopefully have the pleasure of spending more time with!

Gift from Karen & Tony

I have come home from this holiday an even stronger, more inspired and powerful woman. I have Karen and all the other wonderful people I met on this trip to thank for that laaast bit of OMPH! to get me through my journey. I WILL continue to do the things I have always wanted to achieve in my life, I WILL one day successfully voice my story through my writing and use my mother’s father’s talented skills of publishing work as he was an illustrator for the New York Times and was secretly a writer yet never published any work. I will do this not just for me and other breast cancer survivors but for him as I have him to thank for my creative mind and skills which I will continue to put to use. I WILL one day live in NYC for a portion of my life – this is one close to the top of my list as well as spending some time living in Melbourne at some stage as well. I WILL one day successfully be a mother to my own children. I WILL do all these things and more, do you know why?

Because I CAN.

EVERYTHING happens for a reason…

3 thoughts on “EVERYTHING happens for a reason…

  1. Hi Rachel.. So glad you got home safely… Sitting on the lounge reading your blog to Tony… We are both sitting here smiling with such lovely memories of our day together.. You are an amazing young woman and you are an inspiration to all you meet..big hug Karen xx

  2. Rach (McCool) says:

    oh Rach, this is my favourite post to date !! what an amazing weekend you had with all of those experiences combined..they’re definitely happening to help you along the way !! So glad you had such a great time !!! 🙂 xoxo

  3. Nikki says:

    Hi Rachi,
    I feel weird writing this because I have never met you before but Im from Perth aswell and started to read your blog after you were on 92.9. It is so amazing! You are so brave and inspirational. You have had to go through so much at such a young age. I had a lump removed when I was 20 and luckily it was non cancerous but even to this day I worry about cancer. As long as I keep reading your blog I have nothing to worry about. Amazing you are!

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