Posted by: Admin | July 14, 2012

The Saturday Interview 25 – Julia

Entering her fifties, Julia was faced with every woman’s worst nightmare – finding a lump in her breast. When a diagnosis of breast cancer followed, she was thrown into turmoil, but knew that there was only one option open to her: to fight it, tooth and nail.

“I was the first of my family and friendship group to face cancer,” she tells me when we meet at her home in May, “and I was conscious that everyone would look to me to provide an example of how to face it. Not deliberately, of course, but I felt a huge responsibility to be the pathfinder. I had to fight it, not just for me, but for all the women I know.”

And fight she did: through the illness, through her husband’s redundancy, and all of the other ups and downs that life throws at us all. Her instinct to lead the way with her feisty attitude and determination to get well proved fortuitous as, over the next few years, friends faced the same diagnosis.

“One friend said that she watched me deal with it, and beat it, and that gave her courage and helped her during the dark times,” Julia says, with quiet pride.

It was a serious blow, then, when 10 years after the original diagnosis, there was a recurrence last year. This, she admits was harder than the first time.

“Doctors should be very careful what they say. It never occurred to me that I might not survive the first time. This time there was talk of prognosis and odds and my confidence was severely knocked.” Julia sought counselling support from the hospital and, thankfully, is now in remission.

“It made us think, though, about what we wanted for the rest of our lives. We have a holiday home in France and we’ve decided to sell up and move there while we’ve still got the strength and energy to do it!”

Wine from the region in France where Julia is off to live – plus a picture of her new home on the wall

With both her children now grown and settled, and travel so quick and easy, Julia feels happy in her decision. As is often the way when something feels “right”, things move fast and as we were talking a surveyor arrived to look at her property on behalf of a buyer.

It’s a brave move, I feel, to up sticks in one’s sixties and emigrate, but it is plain that the imminent “fresh start” has re-energised Julia and kick-started her joi de vivre. I wish her and her husband all the very best in their “new life” and look forward to taking her up on her offer to visit – and crack open a similar bottle of wine to the one we photographed!

More photographs of Julia can be seen on yesterday’s Celebrate Life! photoblog

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