In August of 2011, I was diagnosed with Stage IV Ovarian Cancer. The timing couldn’t have been worse (not that there’s ever a good time)! I had only just released my long awaited CD Piece By Piece at the end of 2010 and had big plans to promote the album during 2011. Devastatingly, my father was diagnosed with a brain tumour and passed away in May 2011, so needless to say, when my diagnosis came, it was a huge shock to both me and my family. My music plans were put on hold indefinitely as I needed immediate major surgery, followed by 6 months of chemotherapy. My Doctor gave me a 45% chance of being alive in 5 years!
I truely thought that that was the end of my music career…
The surgery was very extensive and I was later told that I nearly died on the operating table! Scary stuff indeed! I was extremely fortunate to have an amazing team of doctors and nurses as well as the undying support of my loving family and friends. They literally saved my life! I thought long and hard about how I wanted to spend the next few years if they did indeed turn out to be my last. It didn’t take me long to figure out that all I wanted was to spend as much quality time with my family and friends as possible…and to keep making music!
Fast forward to 2020 and I’m so grateful to say I beat the odds! I am currently happy, healthy and cancer free 9 years later!
That experience taught me so much. It really drummed home to me the saying “don’t sweat the small stuff”. You realise that it’s ALL just small stuff! The only thing that truely matters is THIS moment and how important it is to make the most of every second. As painful and traumatic as that experience was, I actually consider it a gift! No one knows how long they have left on this earth, but I was given a very clear reminder of that! Now, I use that reminder to get me through the toughest of days. Whenever I’m having a bad day, I think back to how grateful I am to simply still be here and that makes all the crap disappear.
I also had another weapon in my healing arsenal – my music. It’s been well documented that music has many healing powers and I am now walking proof of that. Even though, after the operation, I could no longer do gigs, as soon as I was strong enough to hold my guitar again, I was playing. The chemo also affected my voice, so my singing wasn’t the greatest, but I didn’t care. It just felt so good to be making music. I ended up writing a song about my experience called (not surprisingly) THE GIFT. It’s my reminder note to myself to always be thankful for this life and it’s become one of my most requested songs. I’m so glad it resonates with my audience as much as it does with me.
As I write this, I am as yet to get into a studio to record The Gift “properly”, but I’ve definitely got plans to do that in the next year or so. In the meantime, here’s a video of me performing the song live, not long after I started performing again. I’m a little shaky after so long away from the mic and very nervous about performing this song for the very first time, but I think you still get the idea 🙂
If you like this track, you might also like to check out my album PIECE BY PIECE. There’s another song on there that has taken on a whole new meaning since my diagnosis and has become an unofficial anthem for what I went through. It’s called I Will Not Fall and it’s my favourite track from the album. It was co-written by the amazingly talented Emily Baker while I was living in Brighton, England and it still gives me goosebumps when I listen to it. As my way of saying THANKS for joining my list, I’d like to give you this song for FREE – as my special gift to you!
I hope you love it as much as I do…
Let me know what you think once you’ve had a listen by commenting in the comments section below. I always love to hear what my songs mean to you!
Thanks again and see you soon,
With love x Nat