On October 24th we were lucky enough to fulfil a dream for a very inspirational lady. I’d love to write a huge piece about how and why we became involved with Sarah but the story should really be told, in her own words…
“My name is Sarah Maye and I am 42 years old, I have been married to Kevin for 17 years but we have been together for 22 years and have 2 grown up children, Liam who is 20 and studying at Teeside University and Emma who is 16 who has just started Thomas Rotherham College.
November 2013 our life was turned upside down when I was diagnosed with Stage 2 Breast Cancer, with no family history and being so young I was living proof that Cancer really didn’t care. How did I deal with this? Well I had 2 choices 1. Roll over and take it or 2. Get up and fight and there was only one option – I don’t like to loose so I was going to fight it.
Dealing with other people’s reactions at times was harder to deal with than being told I had Cancer, some would want to talk about it which I really didn’t mind because I was someone who didn’t self examine and if I could help one more person and encourage them to self examine then I would be happy. Some people however chose to ignore me and my family and it’s only now I can see that its because they was scared and just didn’t know what to say at the time this was so hurtful as I really needed them, and if I could say one thing to people who know someone going through a Cancer journey if you don’t know what to say tell them you don’t know what to say, tell them about your day, where you have been, what you have done, believe it or not it will be a welcome distraction.
So 2 operations later I discovered that the Cancer was more aggressive and wide spread than they initially thought and along with the 4 weeks Radiotherapy that I already knew about I would need 6 cycles of FEC chemo and hormone therapy for at least 5 years. The first day of chemo I was quite excited because I kept on telling myself this was the first day of me kicking cancer into touch, that feeling soon changed. Poor veins led to difficulty even canulating me and that was before they started to administer the chemo. Within 30mins I started to feel the effects I felt sick, despite anti sickness being given, taste buds went and the worst was yet to come and on day one and already I was thinking I couldn’t do this. I remember looking up with tears in my eyes as all of a sudden it hit me just how poorly I was and I saw the smiling face of a dear lady called Marie who with out saying anything I just knew she understood how I was feeling. Little did I know what great friends we would become and its Thanks to Marie my wish is being fulfilled.
I always took great pride in my appearance and my hair was always my crowning glory so whilst I was heartbroken at the thought of losing my hair I decided I was the one who was going to be in charge not Cancer, so when I started to lose my hair on day 11 I gathered some special people around me and this is what happened…”
My appearance would never be the same again, gone was the hair and it wasn’t long before the eyebrows, eyelashes and finger nails soon went.
As I got further into treatment I gave up work as I felt it was the best thing for me to do so I could put all my energy into fighting this. Little did I know how much this would impact on my family and financially we got by but only just. I found out not through agencies but through other Pink Sisters that there was help out there and I was soon pointed in the right direction. Being a cancer patient is stressful enough without having to go searching for what help and support is out there not only for the patient but for the families as well, that’s why now I am honoured to be able to support and share the vision Marie Caygill has with the Doncaster Cancer Support drop in.
I am now on regular check up and so far so good, will the fear of it ever coming back go away, NO I really don’t think it will, I just learn how to deal with it the best I can. Can any good come out of me having Breast Cancer YES it can, I don’t want to dwell on the past because I can’t change that but I can change what happens in the future. I have become so much more relaxed and laid back because this last couple of years has made me realise just what is important in life, many people ask themselves “why Me” well I once asked myself that and soon found out when friends who have never self examined found lumps and got themselves checked out and I am please to say have been given the all clear. If through raising awareness I and get more and more people being aware of their bodies and what is normal for them and if they find something that doesn’t feel right then encourage them to get checked out then in my eyes I have been dealt the Cancer card for a reason.
I had met Marie Caygill when we where both undergoing treatment for Breast Cancer and she is the lady responsible for starting the wheels in motion for my dream. Marie knew that I have always wanted to hold a Pink Themed party to Thank everyone one around me for their support while I was undergoing treatment, to continue to promote the Breast Awareness message and to Celebrate Life because I am one of the lucky ones and so far I have been clear for 1 year.
I had met Clare Graham from the Trust a number of times at The Doncaster Cancer Support Drop in Centre but always felt that there was other people more worthy than me and who deserved a little bit of happiness. People who know me will tell you I am never lost for words but at our August drop in Clare managed to do that when she told me Marie had told her about my dream and that the trust would like to help make it happen. There was plenty of tears as I really could not get my head around why someone would like to do something like that for me.
On 24th October my dream came true and it really couldn’t have gone any better, I was surrounded my people who I care about and who I really couldn’t have got through my battle with. They have inspired me to carry on and be the person I am today, there support is outstanding and I am totally blessed to have them all in my live.
During the evening we gave out signs and symptom cards to my guests and had a pink balloon release in memory of a beautiful young lady who was taken from us at the tender age of 17 yrs just last year.
Everyone at Eve Merton Dreams Trust are truly amazing people, nothing is too much bother for them, Thank you hardly seems enough as I finally feel like I have closure.