Jackie Scully

What it really feels like three years on from diagnosis day

I remember it like it was yesterday. 

I remember the quiet waiting room. I remember half reading Bridget Jones Diary and wondering whether I'd be back at work in time to make a meeting. I remember the face of the nurse who called me in. I remember the face of the young consultant before and after she broke the news. I remember struggling to get a mobile signal. I remember weeping down the phone to my parents hundreds of miles away on their way to a funeral. I remember the blur of a mammogram. I remember the stunned silence from my partner and a good friend. I remember the kind nurse who made me tea and let me sit in her office to escape the faces looking at me as I broke before their eyes. 

I remember. 

I will never forget. 

But, three years on from that day, I am not the person who sat in that chair wondering whether she would live to see another Christmas or ever walk down the aisle. 

Diagnosis day is quite unlike any other day I will ever experience. It wasn't the day that changed me. But it was, in many ways, the day that saved me. It saved me from an early death before I'd even got started.

It saved me from a life of just doing and never really seeing or living. 

It was the day I realised just how fragile life is and how easily that life can be taken away. 

Three years on, however, I don't dwell on what did happen, but on the life I was gifted back as a result of that diagnosis – a life filled with sunshine, friendship, charity, kindness and gratitude. And, most importantly, a life filled with hope.

It is only by nearly losing my life that I realised I have everything to live for. 

So today, I reflect, but I am not sad. 

I am grateful. Grateful for the people who bring light into my days and my years. Grateful for the sunsets I never thought I'd see. Grateful for a body that is stronger than I ever imagined it could be. Grateful for a brilliant family who will do anything to support me. Grateful for the fact, I can get up, run along the Thames listening to podcasts and inch closer to our marathon wedding charity fundraiser. 

I am grateful for what is rather than what could be.

So, make any milestone days in your life, days when you reflect on the bits that make you smile. The bits that you will be able to cling onto when you're lying in a hospital bed wondering when it was that time slipped away.

Bank happiness and you'll always be able to make a withdrawal.

Happiness hacks #6: Look up

There's a beautiful scene in the film About Time, where the main character spends the day enjoying every moment rather than racing through each one. 

He looks up at the law courts to admire the architecture. He looks up at the coffee shop barista to show her he cares. He looks up to his friend in a meeting to give him confidence. 

He looks up because he realises that looking up is a gift we can unwrap every day.

Try it today. Look up, live and take it all in. A world of technicolour awaits.

Life lesson number six: Say yes unless you really really should say no

It's not every day you post your Lycra running bra to a celebrity, so that she can sew it in to the running wedding dress she's making for you so you can run a marathon. 

But, today was one of those days.

I confess, three years ago, I could never have imagined writing that sentence, let alone living the life behind those words. 

But, when something challenges your life, you really do begin to think about what that life is all about. 

It's easy to say no. It's easy to stick with the routine that sits you firmly in your comfort zone. It's easy to think that tomorrow will be a better day. But, the truth is, today is the only day that matters.

Of course, saying yes to everything is not the answer (unless you wish to feel constantly guilty and never able to relax). But, saying yes to things that might push you, that might take you in different directions and encourage you to meet new people is a yes worth saying!

That little word has had a huge impact on my life these last three years. I have spent quality time with friends (rather than worrying about the laundry). I have appeared on the TV. I have met my MP to talk about breast cancer and the absence of data collection. I have seen the sun set over parts of the world I never thought I'd see. I have won an award for me (not my work). I have made crumpets. I have found my voice and the things that make me smile. 

So, when the amazing charity Willow said Frankie Seaman (professional figure skater and Dancing on Ice star) would like to chat to me about my running wedding dress plans, I said yes. 

And, when that same charity asked me to stand on a stage at a ball and tell hundreds of people about how they helped give me back my smile at a time when my body had other ideas, I said yes too. 

I live a life in technicolour because of the decisions I have made. The good 'yeses' not the ones I almost feel obliged to take. 

And, the great thing is, so can you. 

My house isn't clean, but then having a clean house is not something I'd be proud to put on my gravestone. 

All I know is, I am ready to walk through the right doors as they open.