‘Thank you, cancer!’
Rachel Slade, 31, from Lichfield, got out of a rut and into a whole lot of adventures
Before I had cancer, I presumed tomorrow was a given. I’d go to work, come home, have dinner with my partner, Gavin, now 41, then watch TV until bedtime.
After feeling a shooting pain in my left breast in January 2016, I was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer, a rare and aggressive type. It had already spread to my lymph nodes.
An intense course of chemo began, followed by a mastectomy and full lymph node clearance.
When I was diagnosed, I still hadn’t worn some Christmas socks I’d been given two months previously. I’d decided to save them for the following festive season, but now I had cancer, I put them straight on. A little moment, but a big lesson.
During treatment, I couldn’t make any plans. Even when Gavin proposed, I struggled to set a date because my life was no longer certain.
But when all the cancer cells were eradicated, I could focus on my future. Hot air balloon rides, baking bread, growing my own veg… I made a scrapbook where I added photos of my latest adventures.
I went to see Scotland’s beautiful lochs, adopted a cat, threw a vintage party and got a tattoo. I went to Harry Potter’s Platform 9 ¾ , somewhere I’d never quite got round to visiting before. On the front cover of my scrapbook is the mantra, ‘Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must be moving forward.’ Gavin jokes that we could watch TV now and then, but I don’t want to. Not when I could be training for a 10k run or practising my Italian for a trip I’m taking to Venice with my mum, Ann, 65. Or planning our wedding, which is in November. I thank cancer for the valuable lessons it taught me. Tomorrow is never certain, but I can make sure today is brilliant.
Rachel has made a bucket list of the things she wants to do