They say that life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans, and in recent years that old saying has struck me as being incredibly true. And never more so than the moment I woke up on my 50th birthday in January 2019 and felt a strange bulge in my left breast, the size of a large marble. The truth was, out of all the things I’d been carefully planning for the year I turned 50, having a health scare wasn’t one of them, and in that moment, I decided I wasn’t going to face up to it, not yet anyway.
In retrospect, it was incredibly foolish of me, and a decision that could have easily cost me my life, but this was meant to be my year – my year for adventures and fun, my year for fulfilling long-held dreams.
Two months earlier, in November 2018, I’d sat down with a pen and notebook, excitedly jotting down a list of 50 things I wanted to do the year I turned 50. It was a milestone birthday, one I’d been anticipating for a while, and I’d decided I wanted to experience as many new things as I possibly could. Because if not now, then when?
My list included a trip to Marrakech with my partner Steve, then 49, swimming in the Solent on the south coast near to where I grew up, going for afternoon tea, and having a barbecue with friends. And now, on 18 January 2019 – my 50th birthday – we’d planned to head to London to meet my sons Matthew, then 27, and Gareth, 24, to watch the West End show The Lion King – I’d read the book to them when they were little. It was number two on my list, and there was no way I was going to let what I hoped was just a little scare, ruin it.
Of course, as I tucked into a champagne breakfast that morning, I promised Steve I’d get it checked out, but just not today.
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