17/04/2017 17:35 BST | Updated 17/04/2017 17:35 BST

Life Can Trip Us Up, But It Doesn't Have To Take Us Down

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No one told me I'd be spending the last few weeks of wedding planning searching for white-coloured 'bridal' sports physio tape and a doctor to lift the tendon away from the bone in my right hip.


Image: Unsplash

Another example, I guess, where life isn't quite what I hoped it would be.

For someone with rather unusual medical records (learning to walk again in my 20s and getting breast cancer in my early 30s), I should have known that things wouldn't go according to plan.

They never do.

These are not, however, the words of a broken bride-to-be, but rather a women determined to dig deep and find a way to smile through it - so that others can find a way to do the same.

Because, determination, is all I've got.

While I can't control what is going on below my waistline, I can control what happens in my head.

And that, as my health history has shown me time and again, is all that matters.

Life has a way of tripping us up, changing the path and the focus of our lives when we (usually) least want it to. It breaks the heating when we're running a fever. The internet goes down when we're on a deadline. The trains stop running when we make a special effort to get to work early.

And, it gives you cancer three weeks after the person you love more than anything in the world decides he wants to spend the rest of his life with you (after 13 years together).

It would be easy (and justifiable) to be angry.

It is really really hard, but much more satisfying, to smile through it and remain hopeful.

I know, because I haven't always got it right. When I had my hip rebuilt in 2007 and filled with metal, I worried about the pain and the surgery and the hospital. I didn't worry about the person who wouldn't be able to walk, sat at home, with only my mind for company.

I got it wrong.

It hurt me.

So when life gave me cancer, I decided to focus on my head and let the experts get on with fighting the illness.

'Learn to dance in the rain' is what a friend said at the being of my treatment. And, that is exactly what I did - and continue to do even now.


Image: Unsplash

For it's not what happens to us in our lives that matters but how we choose to respond.

And we do have a choice.

It makes me laugh when I think that I have turned our wedding day into an event where the risks are high (life is surely hard enough).

But, what better way is there of offering hope to those who feel hopeless, of inspiring those who are at the bottom of stairs unable to take a step, than using your big day to show that there is a way to shine a light in the darkness.

The Cutty Sark, our wedding venue, survives to this day because of all the things that didn't go according to plan in its life (it's only a wedding venue because of the fire in 2007). The phrase 'where there's a will, there's a way' is associated with the ship and is one that I know will carry us round.

So, whatever life chooses to throw at you, there is always hope. Whether that hope comes in the form of an extra thick jumper when the heating is broken, a friendly neighbour to help you stay online, or a smile when faced with cancer surgery, is in your hands. Life is hard, but it is doable.

Pain is inevitable, but the suffering is optional.

I have a feeling our wedding will but that statement through its paces.

But, as someone who has suffered I have just three words:

Bring it on!

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