"It was like one of those stories you read in a magazine; Just absolutely devastating."

Columnist Roisin Pelan writes about her sister being diagnosed with breast cancer just weeks after she was.

Roisin Pelan
Roisin Pelan

Hello 2019, thanks for having me. On the first day of 2018 last year, as the clock struck 12, I snuggled our babe, smooched my love and excitedly dreamed about how wonderful our year was going to be.... The year where we get our son (we were approved to adopt one month earlier) and the year where I would finally get my three-year remission celebration. That dreamy bliss lasted six days. What followed was a real life living hell.

After my diagnosis, I was given a keto book from an amazing friend. I was led into the PET scanner department on what would have been my three-year remission celebration day (cancer, you cruel little...rascal), I lay heartbroken and terrified for over an hour in a quiet room and then into the

scanner I went.

My lovely Michael sat in the waiting room with pen, paper, tears and the keto book. When I came out, he told me keto was going to seriously help, he was so positive and when you’re in such a horrifically dark place, you grab that positivity as hard as you can.

Keto is a no sugar, no carbs diet. Cancer can thrive from sugar so immediately, I quit.

It was easy at first because I had zero appetite but, a year on, I do allow myself a weekly treat (and a wine every now and again). I’ve just been away for Christmas so I’ve gone a bit bonkers.

I’ve spent the last three weeks in Australia with my sister. Unbelievably, three weeks after my diagnosis, my sister, Lins, in Melbourne, was diagnosed with breast cancer, too.

It was like one of those stories you read in a magazine; Just absolutely devastating. We both desperately wanted to be with each other as we both faced the biggest blow of our lives.

But cancer put a stop to that, we were both being absolutely blasted with chemo, radio, surgery and infection. So we made it our aim to get together for a reunion.

When we finally got to see each other, it was the best, best, best moment. Lins had no idea I was coming so the look on her face was worth all the riches in the world.

Incredibly, this reunion was paid for by our wonderful friends, family, followers and so many strangers who wanted some good to come out of all the absolute bad that was happening. We truly can never thank each and every single one of you enough. Amazing.

I’ll be back next week and straight back on to chemo until April at least.

Then I’ll go on to immunotherapy and eventually have my ovaries shut down. I will never ever give up fighting with every single ounce of strength I have.

The road is a long one but at least there’s no dead end in sight.

I’ll never tempt fate by saying this will be our year, I’ll just keep hoping that it could be. 2018 brought the worst hell I could have imagined, but it also brought joy, laughs, love, strength and hope.

We made a song to raise awareness. I walked Hadrian’s all with 50 of my incredible friends and family. Alan Titchmarsh did our garden, I published my first book, Michael asked me to marry him, Ivy started school, we raised over 20k for CRUK and so much more. I intend to fill 2019 with just as much wonderfulness.

I’ve got so much to tell you about how far I’ve come but, with it being the New Year, I just want to wish you all health and joy and to remind you how fragile this time of ours is.

The moments are fleeting, so live your life with passion and kindness.

Enjoy the littlest things, it’s such a cliche but the moments that make your heart warm are the most valuable riches you will ever wear.

You won’t go to heaven saying “I’m glad I cleaned that house, I’m glad I got that promotion or I’m glad I held that grudge” so go out and grab those little moments with wide open arms, we’re only here once.

Ahh life, I love you.