“It’s okay to stand out” (Photo by Shawn K Bennett)

At the age of 24 I thought my worst problems were getting over a bad break up and finding the right career, but once I thought I hit rock bottom, being diagnosed with breast cancer really put things into perspective.

Work, workouts and partying on weekends suddenly turned into doctors appointments, chemo treatments and sick days in bed! My most troubling questions went from “should I move out this year?” to “should I get my breast removed?”

I could have easily hid from the ugly truth, but instead, I decided to embrace every single inch of it. Putting my communications degree to good use, I started www.nalie.ca; my online journal where I share my entire breast cancer journey with the World Wide Web. People needed to see that getting breast cancer in your 20s is a possibility, and what better way to reach out to Generation Y than the Internet?

My blog and social media reached out to many young women with breast cancer, proving that we are not such a rare case after all. Not only did my blog help me, it was helping others. And it became my motivation to never give up!

Recording my journey allowed me to reflect on each day and to be thankful for life in general. In our 20s, we tend to think we’re invincible. Often, we’re caught up in our hectic lifestyle overloaded with school, work, partying, relationships and heartbreaks, all while over-thinking about what we want in life and whom we want to spend it with. But very seldom do we take the time to sit back and be grateful for the wonderful things we already have and give ourselves credit for the things we have accomplished.

This is what my journey has allowed me to do! Breast cancer never stopped me from living; it has allowed me to live! And I can only hope to inspire others to not have to wait for the worst, to live life at its best.

Follow Nalie’s journey here.