Our Boobless Bride Dawn on her first wedding anniversary

Today, its our Boobless Bride Dawn‘s first wedding anniversary with Steve and she has written a very special post telling us all about their first year of Marriage. NB: brace yourselves for a hell of a read. It breaks my heart to see a very dear friend of mine have to go through this. But its so important we all talk about it and help in any way we can. ~ Maria 

All photographs by Maria Farrelly Photography

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My First Year Of Marriage

It’s hard to believe that it was a year ago that my sister-in-law Beth and I embarked on the first part of the marriage adventure. We headed to Wrexham to collect Jessie, the VW Split Camper. Wedding car, Honeymoon, Taxi and Camping adventure. I still remember the fear of the ‘slow brakes’ as we started rolling down the side of a mountain. And to be honest, that was the scariest part of the whole wedding. I found myself the day of the wedding – composed, excited and just so so happy.   I know that your wedding day is supposed to be the best day of your life, for a lot of brides it is the total opposite. But for me it was. It was bursting with laughter, love, fun and a massive party with all those around me that I love. Everybody had an absolute blast and it made Steve and I very aware of how fortunate we are to have such loving friends and family around us.Dawn_Steve_Wedding-286-of-964Dawn_Steve_Wedding-420-of-964Dawn_Steve_Wedding-650-of-964So, we toured Wales in ‘Jessie’ and loved our family camping trip. We were a proper family – not conventional but still a happy little family; Me, Steve, Imogen, Madeleine and Yvie. Made up of step parents, parents, step kids and daughters but so unbelievably happy.
It reminded me that the happiest times are being together, not spending money and paying for theme parks; but playing rounders, surfing and playing games together. Although it was not an ‘easy holiday’ it was perfect. At the time, this was THE honeymoon. However, thanks to the wedding party’s generosity, we were able to have a beautiful honeymoon in Mauritius – just the two of us! (Admit it, you just sang that in your head). We met some fantastic friends and enjoyed some ‘us time’. However, as in life nothing is perfect – while we were away Steve was head hunted for a dream job (so negotiations were rife throughout the trip) and the sale of our house fell through. It was a very harsh reminder that even in paradise, life has a funny way of throwing things your way. Little did we know how much could change in a year! And this crap was nothing to worry about.triple_negative_breast_cancer_maria_farrelly_photography-8

When we got back to ‘real life’ we worked hard to re-sell the house and finally found the house of our dreams. I had lost my father in the April, so when we found this house – I felt like my dad had somehow played a part in it. My dad’s Chinese sign – a dragon, everything at his funeral was blue as he was a MASSIVE Blue Bird supporter. This was a blue house, on Dragon Way; it was destined to be. While Steve worked like a dog, I was able to co-ordinate the house being turned into ‘ours’. Every single part of it was chosen together; the decorating, light fittings, furniture, colour scheme, bedding… you name it, we chose it together. (Like most couples I showed Steve what I liked, we ‘discussed’ it until he realised I was right and then he agreed. Like I said, we chose it ‘together’ lol.) For the first time in a long time I felt Steve and I were truly together; married, living together and settled. Don’t get me wrong, I paint this as a blissful event – but it was far from it; chasing workmen, tidying dust and constant tip runs made married life stressful in the beginning. Poor Steve coming off nights to a constant sound of workmen and machinery. But we got there – because we ALWAYS made time for each other. By Christmas our happy ever after was here. My follow up scans were clear, my check-ups good and I had just started applying for new jobs to start in Easter/Summer.

Steve and I know how important time is. Time together. Proper dates. So every Friday we did something even if only a film. Then once a fortnight we embarked on alphabet dating and had some incredible fun doing them; Arcades, Boat trips, Clay Pigeon Shooting, Devon, Egg Hunt, Forests, Glamping, H…..triple_negative_breast_cancer_maria_farrelly_photography-16

Then BAM… it’s all totally f*@cked up! A lump. A BLOODY LUMP! The C word didn’t even give me chance to enjoy my happy ever after. Didn’t even get half way through the bloody alphabet. How can I have had a check-up less than a month ago and now the dreaded lump – the lump that tells me I’ve definitely lost my battle with C. She’s won. I know now the hope of a long happy ever after was gone… as if it returned in less than 2 years it would be incurable. Through my tears and shaking body I held on to the hope that I had caught it early enough to remove it and start again with treatment – but I knew that was a long shot. Scans, scans and more scans, and I’m given my prognosis. Terminal. That bloody word. The word you only want to see at an airport. Ok, so 10 years…. 5 years…. Nope – the average is 11 months. How? I feel so well?! This was not supposed to happen. Not so soon after having my happy ever after. FFS. What have I done to deserve this hand? I ask myself this question daily.   It’s part of my mantra these days.

I’d be lying if I said I’m not terrified of death, what happens when I die… the horrible thoughts that we all push to the back of our minds as they make our tummy’s flip and mouth dry out. But through my own anguish and heartache the real pain I feel every day is for my girls. My poor girls. 12 and 8 years old. triple_negative_breast_cancer_maria_farrelly_photography-7How can life be so cruel. Then I think of my poor Steve. How selfish it was of me to pull him into this nightmare… thinking love would get us through. Then my poor mum, brother John and his wife Beth. They haven’t fully grieved over the loss of my dad and here they are again – living this nightmare with me every day in true ‘Abram’ style. Solid. Brave. Defiant. We close ranks and rally around and we are a force to be reckoned with.

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Life will never EVER be the same again. It is so unfair. Two perfectly healthy people have 2 beautiful girls. Who would believe 7 years on our girls would have both parents terminally ill. It is unbelievable! So as he has every other time before, my Angel is there… by my side, never faltering. Putting up with my mood swings, my utter despair and yet still looking at me as if I am the most beautiful person in the world. I thought he was my angel. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe he is my children’s angel. The person who can help raise them as a team effort with my wonderful family.triple_negative_breast_cancer_maria_farrelly_photography-10

My friends have all been incredible too, all helping in their own little ways. One came around to make random cocktails (and have a looooong lie in the next day) – Sorry A! Others have sat drinking tea and watching films. Some have helped financially while others have entertained the girls. Some have even enabled me to do special days with the girls like trying on wedding dresses (Staff at Do You Believe are legends) while others have organised fund raisers that proved to be a legendary after school party. Some have organised photo sessions, others have sent me photos from times gone by. Some people I have never even met have donated – it’s incredible, others have reached out on social media. Every single one playing their part in the drama that is my life. From school, college, uni, work, ponty, holidays – you name it, they’ve been there. One has touched base with her god daughter all the way from Tel Aviv and one has even gone as far as to get married – just for me! (lol… okay – it may be because she’s in love with her soldier, but we both know really, she’s getting married this year so that I can be there and enjoy her special day with her). All in all… I have simply amazing friends. This kindness gives me strength every day. I love you all and can never tell you how grateful I am and do it justice.

So now it’s time to stop crying and FIGHT. FIGHT HARDER THAN I HAVE EVER FOUGHT. So here I am on a clinical trial… praying for my miracle. I am reminded daily that a long life is unachievable. I keep telling my clinical team that I WILL be that miracle that sits there in a few months and is told that I am NED. The most amazing letters in the alphabet. No Evidence of Disease. (This would mean I am still incurable – but am keeping the cancer under control). With Triple Negative Cancer, it tends not to be receptive to treatment – but, for some it does and no one knows why they are the lucky ones. So I remind my nurses and Doctors that I am indeed the chosen one. I see their looks sometimes; a mix of fear that I do not understand the severity of my situation and sadness that I am deluding myself as experience says I am wrong. But I don’t buy it. No-one will tell me when I am going to die. I will decide… and it will be when there are ZERO options left as I will try everything! I will NOT go down without a fight.

So screw you Cancer. This is only the FIRST of MANY anniversary’s with my man. I mean the present I got him is legendary – I have to be able to buy more. Where there is life there is hope. Where there is love there is hope and where there is hope there are miracles. And if my fight is not as long as I hope it will be – I have had the privilege of knowing my fate. I have been able to do memory days with the girls, talk through memories and photographs and simply be together. Not stuck is school, marking every night, working 70 hours a week. Good. Quality. Family Time. So, you see, I am not the cursed one I thought I was – I am blessed. Not many mums are lucky enough to have this special time. So, as I go off to my romantic weekend in Cornwall with tranquillity and a hot tub, I thank you… all of those that have helped and continue to do so. You know who you are – too many to mention. But I beg you – every single bride… follow my very simple rules in life and you will be happy;

Live every moment

Laugh every day

Love beyond words

Dance like no one is watching.

Wow, Dawn my lovely… you know how much I value our friendship. You are one very special woman! Myself and all the other Cwtch girls are right here for you and will do everything we can to help! (even if that means making more cocktails ;) ~ Maria