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3 Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Was Diagnosed with Cancer

3 Things I wish I had known before I was diagnosed with Cancer is in collaboration with Rate Detective.

After my Breast Cancer diagnosis in November 2015, so many things raced through my mind.

Am I going to die?

What will happen to my children?

Could I have done something to stop this from happening?

After many discussions with my amazing medical team, I feel assured that I did not cause my particular Cancer. There really is nothing I could have done to prevent this diagnosis.

That said though, there are a few things I do regret and things I wish I had known before I was diagnosed with Cancer. If I could go back in time, I would makes changes and I wanted to share these with you.

  1.  Don’t sweat the small stuff

I’m an over-analyser, I’ll admit it. I’ve wasted so much time in my life worrying about things or people or events that are really trivial though.

The Big C is just that, Big. Hopefully it will be the biggest thing I will ever have to deal with in my life. I’m convinced that nothing in my life will ever be this hard again!

In the past 8 months I’ve had the time to really reflect on what is important though and it’s been so liberating to let go of things that are no longer important.

You know that feeling when you’re in a busy or stressful job but it’s your last day of work? It suddenly dawns on you that the issues you’ve been juggling are now someone else’s responsibility. Isn’t that a lovely feeling?

Well it’s kind of like that. It really puts things in perspective.

I wish I could go back in time though, to times where I’ve felt overwhelmed or sad or stressed. I’d like to let myself know that it will be ok, to stop worrying about small issues. Hindsight really is a wonderful thing.

  1.  Don’t waste precious time on the wrong people

bang on talk about my love for Marie Kondo’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying” a lot and I’ve recently written about how I think the KonMari method can be applied to people too.

I’m blessed with some of the best friends a girl could wish for. Over the years though, friendships change and there have been times where I should have just let go and moved on instead of waste valuable time and energy in trying to make relationships work well passed their use-by date.

Rather than this being a negative sentiment though, I have since learned to love and appreciate the memories I once shared with those friends but move on now to focus more of my time on fewer people in my life.

  1.  Consider getting Life Insurance

Life Insurance is something I have had on and off in my life through my employment contracts and my Super. I’ve never taken out my own policy though and after having my two kids and completing my family, this was one of the tops things to organise on my To Do List.

I called my bank and another company to get quotes. I was happy with the quotes but after just emigrating and starting a new job, I hadn’t had time to choose a policy. When the bank called, and they called a lot, I asked them to call back the next day. And then the next day.

I never got that policy.

Then the Cancer diagnosis came and now I am no longer eligible for life insurance. Certainly not the policies I had been previously quoted on. Apparently, I may never be, and definitely not until I have been ‘all clear’ for many, many years. This has left me with no insurance to assist my family in the event that something happens to me – Cancer or not related to that.

During my treatment, when I was unable to work, I had no income protection. This was the only time in my life I have never had income protection. The time I needed it the most.

Rate Detective has some great tips on what to look out for when shopping around for life insurance:

  1. Investigate whether you can use your super to pay for premiums. Lump sum cover, such as life insurance, receives a 15% tax rebate if arranged within super.
  2. Don’t just look at the price! Look at the product ratings as they provide an indicating of the quality of the cover. This is really important.
  3. Ask for a rebate – For example at Rate Detective you can receive up to 20%.

Rate Detective is a rate comparison website providing free financial information to consumers and a one-stop-shop for personal finance management. Rate Detective compares all of the life insurance possibilities and comes to you with the best rate. They then manage all of the paperwork so you don’t have to. Rate Detective is also one of the top three rate comparison sites in Australia for personal insurance.

I can’t go back in time but I do have control over how I live my life going forwards.

Whilst I might never truly feel ‘carefree’ again, I appreciate so much of what I have now: my health, my family, my friends and the world around me.

You can’t prepare for every possible outcome, every rainy day. I really hope these few things help you to focus on the important things in your life, as I intend to as well.

If you could go back in time in your life, what would you do differently?

My Friend Has Cancer eBook by Mim Jenkinson
My Friend Has Cancer eBook by Mim Jenkinson

Read next:

3 Things I wish I had known before I was diagnosed with Cancer - Family Finances How to Protect Your Income Protecting your Income Income Protection Rate Detective Life Insurance

Disclosure: The link to the Marie Kondo book is an affiliate link which means if you make a purchase, I get a small commission but this does not change the price you pay.



  1. You Baby Me Mummy
    / 4:41 pm

    I need to look into life insurance, I have been meaning to for ages. Thanks for the kick up the bum huni xxxxx

    • / 7:15 pm

      Thanks lovely x Do it – just get any policy today and then you can cancel it if you find a better one x x

  2. Erica May
    / 3:51 pm

    I totally agree with all this. While I fortunately haven’t had to deal with a cancer diagnosis, when I was 25 my partner was killed in a motorbike accident. It turned my life upside down as you can imagine and I too learnt those 3 things on your list. I also learnt that you NEED a will. Even if you’re single and think you have no assets or money, you may have superannuation and life insurance through that which pays out after death. If you want any say in where that money goes, you need a will. It doesn’t automatically go to who you may think. Without a will it can also be very difficult to sort out basic things like phone bills, bank accounts etc. let alone if there’s children and businesses involved. So please see a financial advisor and get some assistance to make sure you have your life insurance, loss of income, total and permanent disablement, trauma and life cover. A lot of it can come out of your super so it doesn’t affect your daily expenses either. And then get your will. And then hope you never need any of it.

    • / 3:54 pm

      This is such fantastic advice, thank you. I’m so sorry for your loss too x These things are just so important but you don’t always realise how important until it’s too late x

  3. Katie
    / 6:30 pm

    The big C must certainly put things into perspective! I’m guilty of both the first two things but I do have life insurance (only because hubby sorted it though!) xx

    • / 7:42 pm

      I wish mine had ha ha! x

  4. Totally need to look in to getting insurance; again, something have had, left and put off whilst home with the kids. A good reminder, Mim. Thanks for sharing the ‘practical’ stuff, also.

    • / 3:55 pm

      Thanks lovely – I just wish I hadn’t put it off – you live and learn, literally :) x

    • / 2:26 pm

      Oh thank you lovely lady! x x

  5. Ness
    / 1:58 pm

    I haven’t worked in years so I never thought about life insurance. My husband has it. We’re stuck with our health fund (HCF) though because we’ve both had cancer. No chance of shopping around.

    You’re so right about not sweating the small stuff and wasting time on the wrong people. Luckily I’ve severed ties with people who were truly toxic many years ago. And I’m lucky to have some wonderful, true friends who accept me the way I am (because I am kind of weird).

    Tbh there’s probably lots of stuff I could have done differently, but I’m making an effort to stay in the present rather than dwell on all the what ifs and if onlys. Easier said than done!

    • / 2:12 pm

      You are absolutely right about focusing on the present :) We can only deal with the here and now can’t we :) x

  6. Angela at Daysinbed
    / 11:10 am

    A great post and very interesting to read. I can relate to the life/health insurance issue as its an issue for me and if i had it before i got ill life would be so different right now. I’d not be going through what I am to try and fund medication i cant afford.

    • / 11:30 am

      Thank you lovely and yes, it’s the biggest thing I would change. It would have made life a lot easier for us and at least less stressful when it got very tough x

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I acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land I work and live on, the Awabakal peoples, and pay my respects to Elders past and present.
I thank them wholeheartedly and express my love and gratitude for the privilege to live and work in such a beautiful part of the world and for the opportunity for my family to be part of this vibrant and supportive community.