With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts

- Eleanor Roosevelt

Yvonne Joye

Breast Cancer Survivor since 2009

Yvonne was diagnosed in November 2009. Having felt an abnormality in her breast and hearing all the messages about breast checks, she went to her GP who referred her to a specialist. Five days later, she was given her diagnosis. She had a double lumpectomy, followed by four sessions of chemotherapy and 25 sessions of radiotherapy. She is now the author of two books – Ten Fingers and Ten Toes, and An Inconvenient Year, which details her breast cancer journey.

After surgery, then some more surgery, a double lumpectomy and five weeks of tests, on a December morning I finally got the call – they called to say they got the cancer and that the margins were now clear. There would be the twin treatments of chemo and radiotherapy of course, but ultimately I was “cancer-free”. Hearing those words left me sliding to the floor in relief. Tears rolled down my face and repeating “thank you” over and over was all I could say. Long after the call ended, I remained on the floor, still thanking but instead of crying I was now smiling.

That call changed everything.  Whatever treatment prescribed, I would do; chemotherapy, radiotherapy, medication. How could I complain about hair loss, when I had been worried about my life?

I went through chemo and I started radiotherapy at the end of April 2010. Radiotherapy didn’t impact on me too much. This was a time of hope; it was spring and I was coming out the other side.

Naturally, cancer coming back frightens me.  On my second chemo session I met a woman who had been cancer-free for three years and then she got it again. That undid me. A number of mothers with kids at my son’s school got cancer and not all of those lovely girls survived. That scares me.

But I can’t let it over-take me. I have been gifted with a second chance at life and it’s up to me to live it; I owe it to myself and I owe to those who love me. So I take my medication, I go for my check-ups and I walk every-day.

I get to share more of life with my husband and my children. I get to be there for them, through the big stuff and the small stuff; their first Wes, leaving cert, university, picnics on the beach. Surviving cancer means I get to have all that.

The biggest change cancer has brought to my life is that I no longer waste time. I cherish time, use time and spend time only with those who do not waste mine.

I now chase what makes me happy, capture it and make it part of my life.  And I urge the same for my children; to seek, find and work at what makes them happy and contented.  It’s all I want for them and good health too, please God.