Before this month ends, I feel It’s very important I relay this to you. I wholeheartedly understand there are so many stories that can be told in this bittersweet month but this one in particular touched my heart in a special, one of kind way.
I humbly bring to you today the story of Diane Stevens.
This is her….
This poor soul lost her life to the fight of cancer in 2001, but it’s everything she did after she found out about contracting it that makes her so awesome to me. If we can learn to treat ourselves and others better with each breath we take, I feel true accession can be reached in the end for us all…
This rule has always meant a lot to me
She was from Reading. A large town in the ceremonial county of Berkshire, England. When her story became national she was seventeen, but a year prior finding out at 16 years old made her the youngest person in Britain to acquire cancer at the time.
Map Of Area
More info on Reading (here)
What started with her sitting in her car and crossing her arms revealed a pea sized lump in her breast. Her initial thoughts were that cancer was an older woman’s disease”. Her general practitioner, I felt made the grave mistake of assuming she was “too young” to have breast cancer. He made the suggestion of thinking it was either an abscess or mastitis. She was not treated for months as a result of this decision.
It really is
She was then referred to Royal Berkshire Hospital but doctors failed to diagnose her cancer and she was given a course of antibiotics. Even when the lump became the size of an orange, doctors continued to prescribe antibiotics.
To no avail, the swelling increased. One day her mother came home from work to find her in agony. She was brought to a hospital in Oxford where surgeons carried out a full biopsy.
This is what happens during a biopsy
Two weeks later tests showed she had a soft tissue sarcoma, a malignant and incredibly rare form of cancer.
The procedure was set to go just like this, but this was not the case for Diane.
‘When I heard the word cancer, it didn’t sink in,’ said Diane. ‘Mum burst into tears but I felt quite calm. I hardly believed it because all I had been told for the past two months was that I was too young to have cancer.
Katie Hilliard, 24, is terminally ill with cervical cancer after being denied a smear test because she was also “too young“.
‘As soon as I saw the mass of stitches and scars I just burst into tears,’ said Diane. ‘It was horrible.’ The only person who kept her going, she recalled with a broad smile, was her fiance, Wayne, 22.
This is GYSGT. Barbara J. Ritzco. (Barbie) A decorated solider that also lost her life to breast cancer. If you want to know more about this awesome person you can read (here) Semper Fi!!! 1974 – 2014
The couple have been together since Diane was 14 and last summer he slipped a diamond engagement ring on her finger.
The lump was removed a year ago but it returned and Diane had a partial mastectomy and was treated with chemotherapy.
I feel this is an awesome way to cover ones scars from a mastectomy
As her hair fell out she was simultaneously being told by doctors that these very drugs used to fight the cancer could make her infertile as well. She wanted kids and this bothered her a lot, but she remained optimistic despite the overwhelming odds.
As much as it hurts, we have to face this thing called life.
In the month she finished chemotherapy, she found another lump the next month… Three more operations and chemotherapy followed again and then the teenager found another lump, this time in her back.
She had one more operation but doctors were unable to remove the whole tumor and they have ruled out further surgery.
Despite the shadows under her eyes, Diane insists she feels fine and has come to terms with the fact that she may have only months to live.
‘My doctor has told me that the only reason I’m still around is because I am so stubborn,’ she said. ‘Well, I intend to stick around for quite a while yet.’
Diane’s form of cancer is so rare that only three other young people in the world have had it and they have all died.
She is quoted by saying this: “I have shed all the tears that I am going to. Of course there are days that I wake up and ask why has this happened to me. I haven’t even begun to live my life yet. “But I also know that I can’t afford to waste time worrying what the future holds. There is too much I want to do with my life. I’d rather have three good last months than six bad ones.”
Candice M. A cancer survivor who also knew at seventeen “something was wrong”. She was also told she was “too young” to worry.
Faced with life and death, Diane remained thoughtful and optimistic. If your going to do anything for me this month, use her story to treat yourself, one another better, and to inspire your actions and your life!!
In closing, I will leave you with these words from her: ‘I would urge all girls to check their breasts regularly,’ she said. ‘What has happened to me has proved that breast cancer can affect anyone. There is no age limit on dying.’
Bless your soul Diane. We need more people like you. People don’t wait for your life to end to be the best person you can be in life!! We’re never “too old” or “too young” for anything!!!
Diane Stevens 1983- 2001