This week I was asked to write my column for the Warrington Guardian about ‘reasons to be cheerful’ in January as it can be such a depressing month. Absolutely not a problem and then I got a dreaded phone call.

I had had a biopsy a week ago on a small area of red skin that had appeared close to my scar and was assured it was nothing to worry about and was only a skin irritation. The biopsy was merely to put my mind at rest. So when I got the call to say the doctor needed to see me immediately, if someone had been stood in front of me they would have caught my heart flying out of my mouth! “Is it cancer” I asked. Knowing, but not wanting to believe this was true as the doctors were so sure it was nothing, I continued to ask if the cancer was now in my skin. It was, and within an hour I was sat in the crowded waiting room waiting to see my surgeon and a radiotherapy doctor. With tear stained cheeks and blood shot eyes I was led into a small room where I waited for the surgeon to come in with my results.

I’d like to say he was more shocked than I was that the skin irritation actually was cancer, but quite frankly I don’t’ think that was possibly. I shook like I was cold (in shock) whilst he informed me of how my treatment plan would have to change again. The chemo would be cut short again and I would start on radiotherapy as soon as possible. However I would have to restart my chemotherapy after the radiotherapy had finished as I hadn’t completed the cycle. Gutted, but I could live with that.

What I have found hard to deal with was what followed. The radiotherapy doctor entered the room and together we discussed exactly how radiotherapy works and its side effects. And then I stupidly asked the question of how effective it would be on my type of cancer. His faced looked grim and I knew what he was about to say I wasn’t going to like. “Melanie 3 things may happen. It could get rid of it all together, it could contain it for a period of time in which case it will come back, or it won’t work at all. I’m afraid you have the highest percentage of falling into the second category.

As I allowed the words to sink in that it would only work for a certain length time and it would come back, a cold wave of numbness washed over me. My palms sweated and my vision blurred as he turned to walk out of the room. As the door closed behind him my tears fell with disbelief and fear. Carl comforted me along with my nurse who tried to reassure me that no matter what, it was still treatable but the words drifted over my head and my mind was complete fuzz.

We walked back to the car and headed to my parent’s house where I had to break the news. Carl called his mum in Spain and I made some phone calls and cried for what seemed like the majority of the day. I texted a Life Coach friend, Tiffany Kay and asked could we meet for coffee and she agreed we would meet the next day.

So I could have stayed in bed and wallowed and spent today as a similar day to yesterday’s, weepy experience but I didn't. I got up; played tennis, had coffee with my friends and met Tiffany who instilled some Positive, Mental Attitude into me. Don’t get me wrong, I have cried throughout the day but this journey hasn’t come to an end yet. I called my friend Nicola Kinley who is currently suffering from an inoperable brain tumour, who refuses to believe that her life will be cut short no matter what the statistics say. I have to believe that too.

I have so many precious people in my life why would I leave? I have two beautiful, little girls who need their mum for a lot longer. So this isn’t over for me yet, not by a long shot. And with every fibre of me and with all the strength I have I will continue to do whatever it takes so I can still be here to watch my children grow up and love those people around me who I adore.

So what are my reasons to be cheerful this January when others find it a depressing month? Well I’m still here and that’s all I need to keep me cheerful.

***My best friend Nicola Leadbetter is currently in the process of organising a Ball to help raise money, some of which will help fund Nicola Kinley in getting the treatment she requires from America as it is not available in this country. The Ball is being held on th 17th March and we are desperately in need of some auction/raffle prizes. If anyone can help in any way please contact Nik or myself via facebook. Anything no matter how big or small, would be greatly appreciated. x***

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