I find people react in two different ways when I talk about my experiences with cancer and all the things I do now to keep well – they either can’t get enough information, or it makes them extremely uncomfortable.
I’ve survived cancer twice. I was 22 when diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. I beat that after chemotherapy and radiation treatment. I was 33 and married with two young children when I found out I had stage four cervical cancer. I got the diagnosis on the Monday and I was in hospital by the Friday having a radical hysterectomy.

After the operation, my surgeon said, “We’re 98 per cent sure you’re okay now but we want to be 105 per cent sure, so we want you to have six weeks of radiotherapy.” I agreed, of course, but after my first experience with cancer I’d spent many years investigating alternative therapies, so I was much more armed and ready with things I could do to give myself the best chance of avoiding the usual side-effects of radiation. I ate and drank lots of roughage vegetables to flush my system of toxins, did daily meditation and visualisation exercises (for a positive outcome), consumed aloe vera juice and also had daily Epsom salt baths.

I became a bit of a pin-up of the radiology department because I walked out clear of cancer and only minimally affected by the treatment. Still, I researched deeper into alternative therapies and why the body dysfunctions. I’m now following an ayurvedic diet (for digestive health), an ancient form of Indian medicine. I also meditate every morning, exercise several times a week and constantly monitor my emotions. Do I get angry at the kids or frustrated with my husband from time to time? Of course I do, but instead of festering about things for days and weeks like I used to, I let things go.

My blood is checked every 12 months to monitor my health. My doctors say, “Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it”. I’ve self-published a book (Heartsong) about my journey and recorded a CD of songs to accompany it. Music has always been an important part of my life. I studied voice at the Conservatorium of Music in Brisbane after high school and by invitation in Italy some years later. I made my debut back on stage last year as a featured soloist with the Brisbane Symphony Orchestra as part of the Brisbane Festival. Standing up on stage again was such a cathartic experience. I believe I was meant to survive.

AMANDA WATT Courier Mail. Q Weekend Magazine Feb11-12. 2012