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…
‘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)