“I met my husband, Mike, in 1967. I was leaning out of my office window in London. He was walking down the road with his mate, who looked like Steve McQueen, I waved at his mate, but it was Mike showed up to take me out for lunch! He says that it was love at first sight. On our first date he put Dusty Springfield’s ‘The Look Of Love’ on the jukebox, and it’s been our song ever since. We have three beautiful children: Ellie, Scott and Craig. I adore them. I speak to my daughter almost every day, although sometimes I give her the day off from me. I was a traditional mum though; I catered for everyone’s needs and didn’t really put myself first, in fact not even fourth. But I was happy to do it.
“I turned sixty in 2005. I’d always been satisfied with my life, but then I went to clear out my dad’s flat after he died, and looked around thinking, ‘Is this it? Is this all there is to a life?’ I didn’t want it to be so by the time it had got to Christmas 2005 I had handed in my notice at my job, I loved working at the Training and Enterprise Council as a receptionist, but it was time for me to go. I moved to Majorca in January 2006. I moved here on my own, and I was lucky as I made a great friend, Stephanie Mason. Mike followed me the following year. He left our son to run his commercial cleaning business in the UK.
“In the May of 2007 I had to get myself back to the UK for a mammogram. I hadn’t been for my check up and I needed to do it. I hadn’t really thought about what the results could tell me but it turned out that I had a tumour which had to be removed, and then radiotherapy. I wanted to convince them that I could have my treatment back in Majorca, which I did. It didn’t really touch me if you know what I mean, I treated it as if I had the flu. The treatment was successful and after lots of check-ups I was told that I didn’t have to go back until 2011.
“I went to Son Espases for my blood tests and check up in February 2011. I felt confident that I was fine, but I had also been getting a bit breathless. They took my blood and then they sent for a TAC (MRI). I took my friend Steph with me when I went to get my results as she speaks fluent Spanish, and I don’t. So the consultant broke the news to her.
“I knew it wasn’t good news when Steph breathed in and took hold of my hand. Then she turned to me and told me that I had cancer in my liver, lungs, chest and neck. The doctor showed me my scan, it looked as if it had been snowing inside of me, there were white bits all over me: the cancer. We went back home on the bus. Steph’s stop was before mine, so I was on my own for a bit and then I got back to my apartment in Cala Nova. I had to sit Mike down to tell him, and he looked like he was going to get upset, so I sent him away for a bit to let him sort himself out. I told him he had to be strong for me. I haven’t once cried about the diagnosis.
“I’ve had more than twenty eight sessions of chemotherapy now. I haven’t got cancer in my lungs and chest now, but the tumour in my liver hasn’t gone, yet. Chemotherapy makes your skin very sensitive, it makes it dry and it gets damaged easily. It’s actually easier to wear high heels as the skin on the balls of your feet is a bit thicker. And of course, I don’t have any hair either.
“It’s been amazing; but since I was diagnosed with cancer my social life has improved. When I had my photograph taken for the calendar last year it gave me a real boost, it inspired me to take care of my appearance. Now I always have a nice outfit, and I own a lot of hats. If I don’t wear a hat, it can be difficult when children are staring: it just makes me feel uncomfortable, although Mike says he likes the shape of my head.
“I started the Cancer Support Group with my friend Krista Hyer. So many people get depressed when they get cancer, but you have to fight. The day of the Cala Nova Cancer Charity Fashion event at Mood Beach I felt physically terrible, but I didn’t let it get me down. I focused on what I was doing: modelling for the charity on the catwalk in the pool, and got through it.
“You have to make a life for yourself; don’t just sit around waiting for it to happen to you. Now I go to Yoga, to ceramics, and soon I will be going to an art class too. Don’t get me wrong, I get tired; I have to have a siesta every afternoon. I think if you have things to do then you apportion time, and you do those things. If you don’t have things to do, you don’t do anything.
“I’ve always looked after myself, I’ve been a vegetarian for a long while, I don’t smoke and barely drink: just the odd glass of cava. I want to see my grandchildren grow up, I have three beauties: George, Claudia and Phoenix. Mike does all the housework now, it wasn’t always like this, but now he cooks, he cleans, he does everything. Steph and Krista have been like angels to me, but thank god for my husband, he treats me like a piece of porcelain, and he is so very proud of me. He tells me he loves me twenty times a day. And I love him”.
Please support the fundraising coffee morning for the Cancer Support Group on September 28th at Mama’s Cafe (next door to the Calvia Lion’s shop) in Palma Nova. For more information call 971675477. To read more about people in Majorca please visit http://www.mallorcastories.com