My name is Andrea Partridge and I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. It made me reflect and think about what is happening to my life now, through this diagnosis?
Treatment influenced that quite a lot because everything was taken away from me. The simplest things about being a mum to my nine-year-old daughter at the time, to being able to take her to school, make meals and live. And I very, very quickly found that I didn't have a great quality of life. It made me reflect on what was important to me, which having that sort of diagnosis does. As soon as I finished my treatment, which was in the May, I got married in August, and in September, off I flew to Australia with my family, to my brother. He'd lived there for seven years and not once had I thought about going and spending time with them and I've been there four times now and it's impacted my life, the decisions I make because of having that cancer.
It's great now because, even doing the job that I do, being the Service User Involvement Coordinator at the hospital here, means that I've used those experiences to make a decision on what I want to do with my career, and having cancer has impacted it so much that I work with patients, their families, and loved ones to help make a difference to the services that are offered to us within cancer, and I can see the value in that and the importance of being able to make a difference and having my voice and their voices heard and it making a change for the better and that is so valuable, so important.
My quality of life is so different now, I live healthily, I spend time with family, creating memories and I have a lot to thank because of the experience I've had and it's given me so much more than I ever thought I would have and I live it to the fullest now.