November 1, 2011: I've learnt the true value of my life

By Nikki Hastings

Three years ago today I was sent home from hospital to wait for the results of a biopsy to confirm whether I had breast cancer or not, my doctor told me that they needed confirmation although they weren't considering anything thing else at that stage.

It was another few days before I was told the seriousness of my situation and that my condition was manageable rather than curable.

My life, and the lives of my family have changed beyond recognition. What does having cancer mean to a family and how do you cope?

I still don't think I know the full answer to that but here is what I do know. Having cancer means you know that you should live everyday as if it were your last, but you often don't have the energy to do so.

It means that you question everybody who tells you you look great (do they mean 'considering I have cancer'?). It means that your husband feels guilty every time you argue because well, he shouldn't be arguing with someone who has cancer, should he?

Yet the strain cancer puts on a relationship means arguments are inevitable. It means you constantly question your identity - I am now a cancer patient and that takes away from my roles as mum, wife, daughter and friend, the cancer always comes first.

It means that not a day goes by when I don't think about my cancer. It means that every six weeks I have to wait for CT scan results. It means that every plan I make I have to consider when in my treatment cycle it falls and whether I will be well enough. It means that people you become close to pass away and leave you behind.

But, it also means that I have had the wonderful privilege of meeting some amazingly strong women. It means I have been able to retire from work and be a 'stay at home mum'. It means I have had more than one 'holiday of a lifetime'.

It means that I have the time to follow my dream and spend time writing. It means I have been able to take on the rewarding role of Volunteer Fundraiser for Breast Cancer Care. It means I have learnt the true value of friendship. It means I am able to tell my friends and family how much I love them. It means I have learnt the true value of my life and I try to live accordingly.

The past three years have been a rollercoaster, there have been very low points and there have been some fantastically high points. I am hoping that maybe things will stay on the flat for a while.

I really don't mind a bit of boring!!!

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