Determined to say I do
Cancer crashed our wedding, but the big day must go on…
Arriving at the local beach, I was bubbling with excitement.
‘One week to go,’ I grinned at my fiance Adrian, 52.
It was a lovely evening in August 2016, so we’d headed to the seaside for a stroll.
And in just six days we’d be jetting off to Florida for our wedding, along with 14 family members and friends.
I followed Adrian as he walked to the seafront. Only we had to climb down a steep, grassy hill.
Standing on the verge, I wavered. ‘It’s OK, I’m here,’ Adrian said. Crouching, I rested my hand on his shoulder, took a huge step down. But as my foot hit the ground, I slipped. Went crashing down, landing hard on my left shoulder. ‘Ouch!’ I cried. In agony, I couldn’t get up. I’d had pain in my left shoulder for months. But this was far worse. ‘Let’s get you to hospital,’ Adrian said, worried. As he helped me back to the car, my arm hung lifelessly. ‘I think it’s broken,’ I winced. At Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital in Grimsby, I had an X-ray. It was a pathological fracture – a break caused by diseased bone. ‘We need to keep you in for tests,’ the doctor said. Confused, I was checked into the ward. Then… ‘I don’t want to frighten you,’ the doctor said. ‘But there’s a 70 per cent chance you have bone cancer.’ Speechless,
my head flooded with questions as Adrian clutched my hand.
‘We’re getting married in America next week,’ I blurted. ‘We’ll see,’ the doctor said. The news still hadn’t sunk in when Adrian had to go home.
The next morning, I was told it was unlikely I’d be allowed to travel. I broke down. Hours earlier, I’d been excited about my dream wedding.
Now I was in hospital, probably had cancer. Might even be dying. I called Adrian, who raced to my side, devastated.
Then I asked family to visit. Gathered my mum Lorraine, 66, son Daniel, 19, and sisters, Jennifer, 38, and Angela, 48.
‘I’m not sure I can go to Florida,’ I told them. ‘They’re talking about cancer.’ Shocked, no-one said much. A sombre moment. ‘But you all go. The holiday’s paid for,’ I insisted. Everyone refused, said they wanted to be near me.
I spent five days in hospital undergoing tests. Then, some good news. ‘You can travel,’ I was told. As the doctors had to wait for the test results, the wedding was back on!
Boarding the plane was strange. I was excited, yet scared. And I still didn’t know if I had cancer.
In Florida, I put on a brave face, knew if I showed fear, everyone would crumble too. Though I had to take it easy. So, as everyone enjoyed the parks, I relaxed in the villa. Then our wedding day came. Our lakeside ceremony was very emotional. Daniel gave me away. And tears streamed as Adrian and I promised to care for each other in sickness and in health.
Then we all laughed, danced and drank for hours.
Before I knew it, we were back in the UK. Back to reality. That December, I finally got some answers. It was cancer. I had more tests, a biopsy.
In January 2017, doctors found a tumour on my spleen and diagnosed aggressive diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.
It was a form of non-hodgkin lymphoma that needed quick treatment. I started chemotherapy. The drugs made my heart race, caused sleepless nights, weight gain, hair loss...
Thankfully, I had my new hubby to lean on.
Then, that May, I got some blood-test results. ‘You’re in remission,’ the nurse said.
I still had to finish chemo, but I was too relieved to care.
Now I need regular blood tests and checkups – but I’m cancer-free.
When I look at our wedding photos, I feel lucky. That fall saved my life. And I still had the wedding of my dreams.
Now I plan to enjoy every moment of married life.
Hours earlier, I was so excited. Now I might be dying...
A fall saved my life...
We did! Special photos I look at them and feel so very lucky...