I had to read my last blog to find out where I was at emotionally and physically as December has been more than a whirlwind of a month.

November ended with my clinical trial finally beginning after 3 months of turmoil and my anxiety gradually started to ease.

All I had to do was sit and wait and visit Christies up to 3 times a week for monitoring, scans and assessments which were all part of the trial.

So December began and I was busy beyond belief with hospital visits, Christmas decorations, Christmas present ideas…before the buying!

Christmas nights out, kid’s parties, etc. etc. So I took myself off to Spain with my in-laws for 2 days and removed myself from the madness. There, I was nobodies mum, daughter, and wife. I was just Mel O’Neill taking time out for me. How fortunate was I to be able to do that.

And so I came home from Spain a different person. Renewed and refreshed I had a handle on life and the turmoil of the clinical trial disintegrated.

We took our team at O’Neill’s out to Manchester just days later for Christmas celebrations and everyone’s spirits were at an all-time high, including mine, as we went ice skating, sang in a karaoke hut in the Christmas markets, and ended the day cocktail making.

Arriving into Warrington on our way home, I marched off to the nearest chippy as chips and gravy was calling me. Then someone caused a confrontation with a staff member and Carl (hubby) was stabbed with a broken bottle in the neck.

He jumped into the first taxi and went to A&E alone. I came out of the chippy and missed it all.

It happened that quickly.

In a nutshell, they’re the details of the night but what followed was just the beginning of the madness.

With everything caught on CCTV cameras the police wanted statements and interviews and the very next day I had a hospital appointment at 2pm with the kids in a carol concert at 4pm.

My mum and dad were away on holiday and there would be no one there to watch them. This appointment determined my 2nd treatment on the trial the following day, so I had to go.

Luckily one of my best friends, Terry, picked me up and drove me there, told the nurses what had happened the night before, and the nurses had me seen straight away so then I was back in time to watch the carol concert.

Tears of joy, of relief, of pride, of overwhelm rolled down my face as the children sang and then Lois sang a few lines on her own. The tears could have been for something far more daunting.

I could be telling them now that they no longer had a dad.

That the bottle went straight through his main artery. That he waited for an ambulance and bled to death.

That he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time that they were now fatherless.

Instead, repeatedly being told by nursing staff and police that he was the luckiest man alive that night and had the glass bottle been 1mm nearer he would be dead and how he saved his own life by his immediate reaction, took its toll on my nerves and the following weekend I was ambulanced to hospital with vomiting and sweating buckets yet freezing cold.

I had picked up a bug and along with the anxiety of what was happening, right on top of Christmas.

They kept me in overnight yet I had no temperature??? Did I have a panic attack? Just something else for me to overthink.

Ironically, my old school buddy was in the bed next to me. As her hubby slept beside her he always made sure I was comfortable and ok and for that I will be forever grateful.

But I did miss a night out to watch Gabrielle at the local theatre. She is an all-time favourite of mine and I had bought 2 tickets with a great seats and a Christmas meal out first. And I was sharing this with my Best friend Nicola. I was so looking forward to it and left heartbroken knowing I couldn’t go. Missing a few more engagements I had finally reached my limit and I could feel myself melting as I was shaking horrendously inside.

And in the midst of all this Carl’s aunty died so a funeral lingered ahead.

Then at last it was Christmas day and I stopped. I stopped panicking, I stopped rushing, I stopped overthinking. I started to enjoy everything. I started to enjoy people’s company again. Laugh at jokes again. I started to breathe.

And then I thought even after everything that has happened with me on this 6 year cancer journey so far and the amount of tears I’ve cried over treatment not working; everything could have changed instantly when Carl was stabbed.

It makes me so emotional but ecstatic that we are both alive: That we have both cheated death and lived to tell the tale.

With all the madness that’s been going on I didn’t take time to appreciate that this new clinical trial is working.

My skin is clearing up rapidly and I’ve only just had my 3rd treatment. It’s an ongoing treatment so it’s time to get excited but I find it a little hard now as I’ve been disappointed so many times before but then it’s so easy as the improvement is so visible.

My heart goes out to all those I have met along the way who are struggling at the moment in one way or another.

I know what it’s like to feel fear, to be so frightened when all the heat leaves your body leaving you ice cold and you can no longer think straight or remember anything.

Life throws us so many twists and turns (some more than others) that it’s hard to keep going sometimes but know this… If I can do it, so can you.

Let’s pick ourselves up, stick 2 fingers up to fear and let’s start enjoying life, right now because everything could change at any split second.

2017 better look out for me because I intend to write more, get more involved with dancing, and live life to its fullest.

Every second available, I will grab with both hands and make the most of by doing things I love where I can.

I will also slow down and take time to relish and enjoy the moment, loving my kids and hubby that little bit more than I ever thought I could.

I believe the best is yet to come.

Dedicated to Julie Shaw. RIP.

Warrington Guardian:

Mel's skin before the treatment started, after first treatment and after the third treatment. 

Mel is currently being treated for inflammatory breast cancer.