Penketh mum Mel O'Neill has been fighting breast cancer for more than a decade.

And she writes a regular blog for the Warrington Guardian

Over the last ten years I planned my own funeral a million times over, thinking I would soon die especially when I was told the treatment had stopped working and I was to be put on another one with no guarantee. My thoughts were always on the devastation I’d leave behind not the legacy I would leave.

Today, as the cancer remains asleep, 5 months on from my previous chemotherapy, I’m thinking about how it has changed me and my achievements in life.

I lost the ability to pursue my dream, feeling stupid not being around like minded people, I was the only one I knew wanting to be a performer and so I began to feel more and more like an outcast, deciding to say I wanted to become an air hostess as this would be a more accepted profession.

Verbalising many professions as a teenager, none were good enough or needed the A levels I was heading towards and being bullied didn’t help my self-esteem and this is where my lack of self-love began.

Looking back I can now see why I made the choices I did... to please others, hoping I’d be more liked and accepted if I was given praise from others for my choices.

This became second nature to me not realising I was losing who I really was along the way.

Don’t get me wrong I did take the bull by the horns a few times taking an au pair’s job in France secretly hoping I may get my big break there but returning after just 2 weeks realising I wasn’t cut out to look after children.

Then working in Tenerife only to return after 3 months skint, gaining no direction in life and starting from scratch once home, working in an office.

After leaving that line of work I went back to college to study makeup (my way of fulfilling my dreams but behind the camera instead of in front.) I loved my job at Bobbi Brown Cosmetics achieving makeup looks in many different scenarios including fashion shows, TV and a magazine cover however the majority was behind a counter where sales figures were more important than the makeup application itself.

It was whilst working in a department store in Manchester I noticed raised, red lumps appearing on my forehead that would be the start of urticaria (more commonly known as hives) in my skin that would come and go on a daily basis lasting for more than 18 months.

It was definitely stress related after more than 7 trips to the doctors unable to pin point where the allergy was coming from. After 15 courses of acupuncture I was relieved to no longer be a sufferer of the itchy, ugly, red welts that covered my body having been a case study at Manchester University.

That was a warning sign from my body to tell my mind to stop stressing or at least change my reaction, love myself and stop trying to please others as I continued to appease many different managers I worked under.

But I didn’t listen and 5 years later I was diagnosed with Inflammatory Breast cancer that went on to spread to my skin.

Ten years later the stage 4 incurable cancer is asleep as I choose to live my life differently.

I love myself more than I have ever done knowing self-care is a priority. I am honest and kind and every intention always comes from a good place.

I don’t feel stupid blogging and vlogging even if no one takes note, I am doing it because it makes me happy knowing that sometimes I’ll be helping in a way I never thought I could.

I now suffer from oral lichen planus brought on from chemo but yesterday when I googled it to see if there were any home remedies I could use, the description said it was an inflammatory skin condition.

Hmmmmm 3 things now, obviously one more serious than the others, but all related to the skin, hives, IBC in my skin & now lichen planus Is there a meaning behind this I wonder?

Am I not comfortable in my own skin? Do I not love me enough? Am I able to express myself without worrying what others think or am I still a people pleaser?

Although oral lichen planus is basically reoccurring ulcers, it is manageable but it’s still a reminder to stay true to myself and that people like me for me, not because I’m trying to be someone else that I think they’d like better.

It feels good when someone laughs at my jokes or comments on my Facebook and Instagram posts telling me I’ve helped them in one way or another.

This blog has been the toughest one to write so far as it’s very exposing and I can feel the words pulling on my heart as I read it back but that’s ok because it has been my choice to expose my beliefs on the mind/body connection backed up with proof of my own experience of having different occurrences related to my skin (though some might say it’s just a coincidence). I don’t believe in coincidences and that everything happens for a reason.

I can now stop and smile at myself knowing it feels good to be me, finally being happy in my own skin.

Warrington Guardian:

This blog is dedicated to my friend Sarah who continues to fund raise for my costly treatment and her daughters Amy and Evie, along with their godparent Fay who have had their extremely long hair cut into bobs and donated this to #littleprincesstrust. My gratitude goes beyond words to those who have donated. You are keeping me alive. Thank you