I’d like to introduce you to my sister-in-law Miss G, isn’t this is a gorgeous photograph? This picture was taken when Miss G was my Chief Bridesmaid when I married her brother in June 2007. Just a few short months after this photograph was taken Hubby and I ecstatically told our respective family’s that we were expecting our first baby together (Little Bean) and everyone was over the moon! But just a few weeks later on her Mum’s 60th birthday Miss G had an announcement of her own to make, she had been diagnosed with Breast Cancer. She had a number of large tumours in her left breast and they were of the aggressive kind. It felt like someone had knocked the wind out of our sails, the whole family was in shock, Miss G was only 30 years old surely far too young?
Miss G was naturally very frightened and upset but she vowed that this horrible disease was not going to get the better of her and she was going to fight it and as a family we would be there to support her as best as we could. She began chemotherapy soon after and very soon the sickness started and Miss G began to lose her hair, she took the brave step of going to the hairdressers and getting her hair shaved off. She chose not to wear wigs but began sporting bandanas and wore the look well.
Being pregnant and heading full speed ahead into the winter months I suffered cold virus after cold virus which meant that due to Miss G’s lowered immune system I was unable to visit her very often, I didn’t want to risk passing anything on. It was a sad and scary time for the whole family, watching my Hubby worry over his little sister was one of the hardest things I’ve had to see but the one thing which personally kept me positive was seeing just how strong Miss G was. She was not going to let it beat her.
I remember around Christmas time Miss G received lots of cards and videos from her pupils. Miss G is an amazing Deputy Head Teacher at a City School and she is very much loved by everyone. She has such enthusiasm for her job and she relates well to the children (probably because she is still just a big kid herself!), the children love her and look up to her and the staff all respect her greatly. She is a good leader who loves her school and works hard to make it the success that it is. Seeing all the cards, letters and videos from the children naturally upset her but I think they also gave her a renewed determination to get back to school to see her children (personally I think she must be mad, looking after my three is stressful enough for me!).
Following months of chemotherapy, Miss G made the very brave decision to have a double mastectomy to reduce the chances of Cancer returning in the other breast too as well as the lymph nodes under her left arm. It was a hard operation and transition to go through but she did it and over time she has come to terms with her new self. Miss G then had to face radiotherapy which again wiped her out but the treatment didn’t end there, next she had to follow a course of Herceptin, more cancer fighting drugs until finally she was declared free of cancer and began to immerse herself back into her life. She returned to work (and not quite part-time as was suggested), Miss G doesn’t do anything by half measures so she jumped back into it with both feet, sometimes to the detriment of her health but I’m sure to Miss G it just felt good to be back to some kind of normality. She still has to have regular check-ups at the hospital but I just wanted to say how proud I am of her and how truly honoured I am to call her my sister-in-law.
Since becoming a parent, the question of mortality always plays on my mind. I want to be there to see my children blossom and grow into adulthood, to see them perhaps become parents themselves one day and to see their children grow. When I think of Miss G and the thoughts that must have run through her mind I wonder how she did it, she has been so brave and yet still there to help and look out for others. Miss G does the Race for Life every year and has also done the Midnight Walks in aid of Breast Cancer.
Everyday at work she makes a difference in the children’s lives, makes progress with them where others have failed and I personally can’t think of a more inspirational person!