My future's been stolen

I'd been given the best news ever- but then there was a cruel twist

Published by: Laura Hinton and Harriet Fernando
Published on: 1 March 2012

All my hopes and dreams for the future had been shelved when I'd been diagnosed with cervical cancer. Now, suddenly, I was being given my life back.
‘I've actually got the all-clear?!' I kept spluttering.
‘Yes,' the doctor nodded again.
‘That's the best news ever,' I whispered. In an instant, all the worry, panic and agony of the last four months drained from me.
Before then, I'd been happily engaged to Steven, 30, and we had our gorgeous four-year-old daughter Abby. The results of an infection test to prepare for a new contraceptive had destroyed that contentment, though.
I'd needed chemo and radiotherapy, had to spend time away from Abby, which broke my heart.
Luckily, the nurses had given her a special book called Mummy's got a lump.
‘Your lump is in your tummy, Mummy,' she'd tell me.
My family had been fantastic support, too. My mum Lucy, 50, had even made a special rota so that different family members would hold my hand while I had treatments. And Steven had been
a doting partner.
‘Soon, this'll be a distant memory,' he'd promised me.
Turned out he'd been right!
The news had come after I'd had a routine scan to see how I was doing. I'd assumed it'd be another week until I'd get the results back. But because I was already in hospital having treatment for a blood clot in my leg, they'd hunted them out.
And boy was I glad they had! ‘If it wasn't for my leg, I'd jump up and kiss you,' I giggled to the doctor, so relieved.
Oh God, I had to tell Steven... ‘You've got to leave work early and come here,' I babbled down the phone to him.
Half an hour later, he was there. ‘What's wrong?' he panted.
‘Nothing! I've got the all-clear!' I shrieked.
His face was a picture, going from disbelieving to stunned, to over the moon in seconds.
My cervical cancer diagnosis had completely rocked our family. The first time Abby had seen me on a drip, she'd been so upset. But the nurses had distracted her with the crafts they'd got us doing together.
‘I've made a special bracelet for you, Mummy,' she'd proudly told me. At last, we could put all that stuff behind us.
Me and Steven could organise the wedding we'd been talking about for six years.
For the next three days, while recovering from the blood clot, I rang everyone with my fantastic news. Counted the days until I'd be home, be normal again.
‘Maybe we can go back to Blackpool,' I told Steven. We went about four times a year. Abby was obsessed with the teacups ride, we'd gone on them about 50 times last visit! Mind you, just to snuggle up with her under my furry blanket and watch Cinderella would be amazing.
Just as I was due to discharge myself though, I started struggling for breath. I tried not to panic as I was sent for a scan to see if the clot had travelled to my lungs. ‘We could see a small dark shadow,' the doctor explained. ‘But we think it's just bruising.' Phew! I could still go home to Steven and Abby!
It was incredible. The first thing I did was read Abby a bedtime story. ‘Will you be here in the morning?' she yawned.
‘Definitely,' I whispered. I didn't want to miss a single
second with my family.
Back downstairs, I cuddled up to Steven on the sofa. ‘Let's get married next June,' I said.
‘Sounds perfect - and it's only nine months away.' He smiled shyly, just as he had when we'd first met. He'd been so quiet then! As he'd fitted windows at my parents' house, I'd catch him staring at me, then looking away.
Finally, he'd asked me out when we'd bumped into each other at the petrol station where I'd worked.
Now we had the rest of our lives together... After three blissful days at home, it was back to reality with a routine hospital appointment.
My consultant pulled me into a private room. Odd.
‘I've looked at the scans,' she said. ‘It's not good news.'
‘What do you mean?' I frowned.
Her face fell. ‘I'm so sorry,' she croaked. ‘That wasn't bruising the other doctor saw on your lungs. It's a tumour. In fact... your condition is terminal.'
‘W-what?' I gulped, bursting into tears.
The room started to spin. I'd had three amazing, perfect days thinking I was fine, and now... ‘We made so many plans,' I whispered. ‘H-how long?'
‘Between six months and two years,' she admitted.
‘My wedding's nine months away,' I muttered, numb.
‘I'd move it to as soon as possible,' the consultant said.
Heart hammering, I ran outside and rang Steven at work. ‘Where are you?' I demanded.
‘Up on a roof,' he said. ‘Why?'
‘Get down,' I cried. There was some crackling on the line.
‘What?' he panted eventually. I bit my lip. How could I break his heart?
‘They got it wrong,' I whispered. ‘I'm dying, Steven.'
There was a short pause, then: ‘I'm coming home.'
As soon as I saw him, I buried my face in his chest. ‘I can't live without you,' he cried.
Poor bloke, he was the one who'd be left behind, with all the heartache. He was the one who'd have to be Mum and Dad to Abby.
I wiped the tears from his cheeks. ‘You can,' I whispered. ‘You'll have to... for Abby.'
Together, we grieved for the lost future I'd only got back three days earlier. Family and friends couldn't understand when I told them. ‘How did this happen?' Mum wept.
‘I'm so sorry,' I sobbed, almost feeling guilty.
This news wouldn't spoil my wedding, though.
Somehow, we organised it all in two months. My big white dress, the cake, the hotel venue...
Before we knew it, the day had arrived. As I walked down the aisle, Songbird by Eva Cassidy played out. Lost in the moment, my fingers went to my throat, brushing the pearl necklace I was wearing. Seeing Steven's handsome, smiling face as I walked towards him was a memory I'd cherish forever.
Despite everything, I felt strong - I was marrying my man,
and walking behind me was my beautiful bridesmaid Abby.
But there wasn't a dry eye as we repeated our vows. ‘Till death do us part,' Steven croaked.
There was no honeymoon. Just three days later, I was back on the chemo - and still am to give me more time. Each hour is precious.
I've lost my hair now. ‘Can I borrow your wig?' Abby always asks. ‘I'll lend you my hair.'
‘Afraid not,' I giggle back, relieved she's still too young to understand about it all.
We recently managed to go back to Blackpool. ‘Mummy can't sit on the teacups,' I gently explained to Abby from my wheelchair. Luckily, she grinned, then hopped on with Daddy.
We still have things to look forward to. My workmates clubbed together and raised £5,000, so we're going to Disneyland Paris soon. And I'm making a memory box for Abby.
I've put in pictures of me growing up, as well as the necklace from my wedding day, and the bracelet she made me.
My life is still perfect, just changed - I have a husband and a daughter who love me. And it's because of them that, even though my future was cruelly snatched away, I won't waste a single minute of what time I do have left.
Kirsty Deakin, 25, Keighley, West Yorkshire