Thursday, 7 April 2016

Could this be (one of) the greatest days of my life xx ~ Rachel

Those of you who have known me a lifetime will know I used to be a part time model. Mainly a sports model. At the age of 18 I finished my A levels and then had to choose between taking the modelling seriously or heading off to University. I decided my looks and body wouldn’t last for ever (and how right I was!!) but my brain Hopefully would, so off I trotted to Sussex Uni to study for a Mechanical Engineering degree. I’d done catalogues, newspaper adverts and brochures, it was a fun time. Parked as a good memory.

So over the years my dream of walking a catwalk had been left behind. University and a love of food, a very happy marriage, and 2 pregnancies leading to births of 2 very large babies certainly took its toll on my physique.

Then came the Breast Cancer diagnosis. So with this comes surgeries (3), missing parts (many), chemotherapy treatments (17th yesterday), a ton of different drugs (too many to name or count), steroids (appetite stimulants), radiotherapy (exhausting) and comfort eating (inevitable). A lack of ability to exercise fully – no excuses here – it really does have to be fitted in around health issues and energy levels. I’m not in the greatest shape ever!!!

Last week I got the chance to turn back the clock and feel like the old me. The model me. I cannot thank Breast Cancer care enough for giving me this opportunity. To live this lifelong dream, to tick this unticked box. When I was first selected I was “all clear” – except I wasn’t. I called BCC to check I was still eligible, as I still had cancer and a lot of treatment to go. Of course I was, if I was to be well enough at the time of the show. Well the whole sorry story has dragged on so long that there has been doubt in my mind that I would be well enough. The recent lung clots, the vision issues, the ongoing chemo. Only a few weeks ago I begun to feel scared I wouldn’t be able to take part.

I woke up last Sunday with a swollen face and neck, looked like an angry frog. I called the emergency line and off down to the hospital I had to go, dragging the family with me. Whilst they played in a local park I got checked out. Terrified I would be kept in and miss the show. To cut a long story short I refused to even sit on the ward bed and escaped an hour later. Thank goodness.

Well to the day of the show. About as emotional as it can get. As I waited backstage I felt my knees knocking and I thought – can I actually do this? Then they called out my name and I heard the Cheer of my life. 2 tables full of loud loving ladies were already whooping and I hadn’t even got out onto the stage yet. Some tears, full body goosebumps and a steely determination. YES I can do this. Cry my way down that stage – who cares! Well the music started and off we went and can I say I was having such a fabulous time from start to finish that tears were at the back of my mind. I LOVED it, and apparently I ROCKED it. Feeling the love from my Very emotional amazing Mum, my very best friends and my fabulously flat friends – it was a huge boost for me. I felt so loved and supported and confident.


So that was the afternoon show.

 And then the Evening show began..I walked (strutted) out again, this time to less whooping but all I could see was my amazing Husband Doug, my rock. Gorgeous and extremely emotional (sorry Doug!) standing watching in the kilt he wore when we got married. We’ve been married for 10 years in a few weeks and this was so meaningful to me. We need many many many more years. Once again I utterly loved every minute on the catwalk. It was amazing. My wonderful Oncologist was in the Audience along with other medical staff from the hospital where I have my appointments. And yes it was nice to be escorted by a famous rugby player but I only have eyes for Doug.

So what a day. I’m still buzzing. Thank you to Breast Cancer Care. Thank you to everyone who was part of my day. Thank you for coming and cheering. You know how much I love you. Sorry to those who couldn’t make it, I hope you enjoyed all the pics and videos and felt part of it. This has got me through yesterday’s chemo (back to reality!) and has restoked my fighting spirit.

It is up there with the top days of my life. Graduation day, Our Wedding day, Callum being born, Hannah being born. And then achieving that lifetime catwalk model dream. A box ticked. Lucky me xxxxxxx

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