I am a 45 year old single mum with two daughters, Kelly 13 and Jamie 11. They are my inspiration and motivation to stay healthy and happy at all times.
I also have the privilege of working with a terrific group of people, of varying ages, and from all walks of life at a McDonalds Family Restaurant in Sydney. Adam, 23, is the manager. When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer, and lost my hair to chemotherapy, he decided to show his support for me and had his own head shaved.
2007 was a very stressful year which saw the end of a 13 year marriage. 2008 was to be the start of a new chapter in my life, but on 4 January 2008 I had my regular two-yearly mammogram and ultrasound. It showed a tumour, so I started chemotherapy on 31 January.
My life became an endless round of treatments, side effects and specialist appointments. I have always been a strong independent person, relying on no one but being the first person on the scene when a friend was in trouble or needed help. Now it was time for me to accept help, to be humble and simply say 'Thank you'. From the beginning I asked God to send me 'an angel a day' and they arrived.
Here are a few of my angels:- Fiona, a school mum, became my 'chemo angel'. She would take me to each chemo treatment. Jan-Marie, another school mum, became my 'appointments angel'. Gracie, a work colleague became my 'grocery shopping angel'. Karyn, another work colleague became another 'appointments angel'. Noreen, a lovely lady from church, became my 'Hospital angel'.
I work with many young teenagers at McDonald's, and these young people would shower me with hugs and kisses whenever they saw me. They also sent me text messages which usually arrived just when my spirits were down.
Whenever I told someone of my diagnosis for the first time, I made a point of staying positive and cheerful, and when asked what they could do for me, I would simply reply 'make me laugh'. That is precisely what everyone did for me. I remember my first appointment with my oncologist, I entered the room laughing and joking, and he sat across the desk from me, shook his finger at me and said 'You keep that attitude and I'll work with it!'
Most people go through their lives and never really experience the true meaning of friendship or they may only have one or two friends. I have the privilege of saying I have many friends, each one very dear to me, each one part of my 'angel team'. And no, my house is not full of feathers!