Hav­ing cancer taught me to live

Oc­to­ber is Breast Cancer Aware­ness Month – meet three women whose dev­as­tat­ing di­ag­noses led to a new lease of life…

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‘Cancer taught me change can be good’

Jackie Lind­say, 50, from Ayr­shire, re­alised her life needed shak­ing up…

I’d had the same hair­cut for­ever. My hus­band, Robert, 51, and I lived in the same house, and I al­ways bought the same model car. I was scared of change. But cancer changes ev­ery­thing.

I found a lump in my left breast in Oc­to­ber 2011. Af­ter be­ing di­ag­nosed with breast cancer, I had chemo­ther­apy, a lumpec­tomy and ra­dio­ther­apy. When treat­ment fin­ished in Oc­to­ber 2012, I felt like cancer had shaken me by the shoul­ders.

I’d al­ways dreamed of study­ing coun­selling, but had never got round to it. ‘One day,’ I’d say.

So, in Jan­uary 2013, I started an evening class at James Watt Col­lege, in Kil­win­ning, and then did a two-year course at Kil­marnock Col­lege.

In Novem­ber 2016, I grad­u­ated with a Higher Na­tional Cer­tifi­cate.

It meant I could vol­un­teer as a ‘ be­frien­der’ for chil­dren with spe­cial needs or from dis­ad­van­taged backgrounds.

Just re­cently, my son’s girl­friend, Yolanda, told me I was easy-go­ing. I had to laugh. I used to hold grudges, store up griev­ances. Cancer taught me to let go.

I used to say I couldn’t go away with friends be­cause Robert and our chil­dren, Stephanie, now 27, and Marc, 21, plus grand­son Jay­den, eight, needed me, but now I know they can cope.

I go to fes­ti­vals and con­certs, and I’m even tak­ing part in the Breast Cancer Care Scot­land Fashion Show in Oc­to­ber.

I had my six-year all­clear in Fe­bru­ary and, next year, I’ll study for my diploma.

Cancer taught me that ‘one day’ is not a cer­tainty and has made me face my fears.

Cancer has taught Rachel she needs to step out of her com­fort zone...

Jackie has grad­u­ated from col­lege and en­joys go­ing to fes­ti­vals (in­set)

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