Here to inspire others. Meet Natalie Wilson — three-time cancer survivor and founder of High Heal Diaries
Natalie Wilson’s journey as a three-time cancer survivor was the impetus for her to create High Heal Diaries. In 2016, after more than 20 surgeries over eight years, she knew she needed to share her personal journey to becoming a cancer survivor. She wanted to inspire others and mentor them to not only be a survivor of whatever trauma they face, but to triumph over that challenge.
Natalie Wilson, her vision – for High Heal Diaries to support other survivors — whether a cancer survivor like herself, or any other difficulty they’ve encountered on their personal journey. As a mentor, High Heal Diaries exists to inspire others in their pursuit of personal growth, self-love, healing, and acceptance. High Heal Diaries is a multi-faceted platform meant to inspire others and mentor anyone looking to become more empowered, to grow and to improve themselves in order to reach their full potential.
Natalie explains, “I am not a doctor or psychologist, and I don’t claim to be able to cure anyone. But, I do have firsthand experience. And, I have supported friends and family who have struggled with their healing process as well. What I do know is that speaking about my personal struggles, and seeing the positive responses is what has empowered me to push forward. I believe in standing tall even when I feel weak, looking my best even while I feel my worst, and always remembering that each of us is only given what our soul can handle. By the grace of God, I have survived and conquered breast cancer three times, and I didn’t let it break me. I knew I had a bigger purpose. I am grateful for my experiences; good and bad, as I now know my place in this world — a vessel to guide others.”
Natalie Wilson, her personal journey – Natalie’s personal journey as a three-time cancer survivor began in 2008 at age 35, just months after the birth of her third child. She was diagnosed with Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS) of the right breast. Fortunate to find her cancer early, Natalie chose a radical treatment to remove both breasts and undergo reconstructive surgery. Unfortunately, that option presented a number of setbacks, resulting in 13 difficult reconstruction surgeries over eight years. In 2016, just weeks after her supposed final surgery, Natalie learned she had cancer for the second time (Paget’s cancer of the nipple). And, unbelievably, received a third diagnosis (DCIS) shortly after that. The long, hard process to reconstruct had to be reversed, and her right breast removed a second time.
Natalie spent the following year seeking second opinions, soul searching, talking to family and friends, researching, and trying to truly understand her personal desire to reconstruct. She needed to know that this struggle would not be in vain, and soon realized that God had a greater purpose for her. In 2018, her reconstruction started again. This time, doctors rebuilt her right breast using her back muscle (Latissimus Dorsi Flap reconstruction) and fat grafted from other areas of her body.
In total, Natalie has endured a total of 22 surgeries. Click to read Natalie’s personal account of her experience with breast cancer (Ductal Carcinoma In Situ, Stage 0, ER+, HER2/neu+; Paget’s Disease).
High Heal Diaries is the result of Natalie’s desire to inspire others and be a mentor to other people following her own personal journey as a three-time cancer survivor. However, her drive to help others and be a positive influence in this world started long before her first cancer diagnosis.
Natalie is proud to be a mother of three, wife, entrepreneur and three-time breast cancer survivor. When Natalie’s husband retired from a 17-year career in professional baseball, she knew she had more to give and seized the opportunity to expand her own role.
In 2003 Natalie became an Interior Decorator and Home Stager, using her creativity and design skills to beautify and improve many clients’ homes through her business, NTW Interiors. She’s the recipient of a People’s Choice Award for ‘Best Home Stager,’ written articles on various decorating topics, staged homes for some of Toronto’s top real estate agents, and decorated countless spaces.
Building on her passion for creativity and colour, Natalie joined Dior Cosmetics in 2008, as a Beauty Consultant, specializing in makeup artistry and skincare. And, only a year later, won ‘Dior Beauty Stylist Team of the Year’ with her partner in 2009 out of almost one hundred teams.
Always looking for a challenge and an opportunity to make a difference in more people’s lives, Natalie decided to go back to school to study her first love — law. In 2014 she graduated with honours as a Paralegal Advocate with a Certificate in Alternative Dispute Resolution. After passing the Law Society of Upper Canada exam, she joined a team of paralegals fighting provincial offences in Ontario under the Highway Traffic Act.
With a wealth of life experience, and a never-ending desire to help others, Natalie is now also trained as a Certified Coach Practitioner (life coach) by the Certified Coaches Federation. She is also an inspirational and motivational speaker, event and talk show host, philanthropist, model, author, and blogger.
Unbelievably, Natalie continues to find time to dabble in all her passions and career fields. Not to mention, a very doting mom active in her children’s lives, and a supportive wife. Added to this, she deals constantly with the pain of the unsolved homicide of her younger sister, Aisha in 2003 – a chapter in her own personal diary that will never be closed.
Natalie’s personal journey as a three-time cancer survivor has taken her through the 10 stages of emotional healing as outlined by author Gail Goodwin: shock, denial, pain, bargaining, depression, surrender, recovery, rebirth, moving on, and finally, philanthropy. She has gone through the painful stages from that dark place of feeling sad and hopeless, ugly and unworthy, to now knowing that she is beautiful and strong. She is proud to be at the final stage — philanthropy and continuing her mission to help others.
Today, one of Natalie’s key initiatives is raising awareness and funds to support breast cancer survivors. Proceeds raised by High Heal Diaries provide relief for people suffering from the financial hardships of their breast cancer diagnosis. High Heal Diaries can provide financial assistance for such things as groceries, utilities, children’s expenses, medical expenses, care packages, or transportation costs to treatment. Click here to see a menu of services offered by Natalie.
Natalie believes we are all beautiful and powerful and can conquer anything when our minds, bodies and souls are ready to do so. Let’s put on our high heels and walk our way into other people’s lives to help them heal as well.
Natalie's motivation to fight breast cancer
“My main motivation to fight cancer was the fact that I have a husband and three children to be here for. I wanted to show my children that you never give up and you fight to the very end. I also wanted to show them that no matter what hurdles you come across in life you have the willpower to get through it.
Also, not that I ever compared my situation to anybody else’s because what I have gone through is relative to me and what I know, however I do see what is going on in the world and that people are dying from this horrible disease and living very difficult lives, so therefore I am fortunate to be healthy and have life.”
Sourced from CancerBro, November 2018
Natalie's biggest hinderance
“My biggest hindrances in my journey were the fact that some people look at reconstructive surgery as a type of vanity and that I’m putting myself through undue stress and pain with all the surgeries. But they are not in my shoes and they have not had any of their female body parts mutilated.
They don’t see what I see when I remove my clothes. I have long since come to terms with my scarred breasts…my half of breast….my one nipple, and having to put on a prosthetic daily. I know people mean well, but sometimes they say things they don’t realize, or even the lack of comment for that matter. If I wasn’t a strong person I would let them get to me, but I have grown past that, as I know my reasons for reconstructing. And that’s all that matters!”
Sourced from CancerBro, November 2018