In November 2015 I started getting sharp pains in my side. My Doctor thought this was gallstones, so I went for an ultrasound. This led to a CT scan and then a mammogram. Shortly after, I was diagnosed with breast cancer with liver metastases. I had been regularly checking my breasts, but unfortunately the lump was so deep I didn't find it.

The diagnosis knocked me for six. My younger brother had died in 2013 from an extremely rare cancer that affects one in a million people and thoughts of that came flooding back. Looking back now, the period after my diagnosis felt like a grieving process. I wanted to know 'why me?' It didn't seem real. I mourned the life I once had and felt fearful of the future.

I went in search of support, but found that it was very focussed on practical help, and that wasn't what I needed.

I came across Wessex Cancer Trust's Cosham Cancer Support Centre and signed up for Reiki and Counselling. I was a bit sceptical of Reiki at first but found it to be fantastic and so relaxing. Counselling complemented it. I used to be quite critical of myself which is not helpful - especially when dealing with a cancer diagnosis. My counsellor helped me to find a way of managing my feelings, to stop overthinking and worrying about what might happen. I felt so comfortable with her and she gave me the opportunity to open up about some of the things in my past that had never been dealt with. I also completed a Mindfulness course through the Centre, and this proved an invaluable support which I still practice every day.

It sounds odd, but I think having cancer has actually been a catalyst for living a more fulfilling life. I can remember leaving the Centre once in a headscarf. Usually I would have felt self-conscious about it, but on this occasion I felt ten feet tall! I held my head high and was humming a song. I'll never forget it. It was an amazing feeling! 

Before my cancer I worked full time and had a hectic life. Now, I'm on my seventh course of treatment and work part-time. Wessex Cancer Trust has helped me to value my life so much more, and really appreciate those special moments. Not only have they supported me through my journey, they've changed my whole outlook on life.