When nurse Sylvia Jellyman was told she had breast cancer , she knew she faced the battle of her life – so she gave her boyfriend permission to leave her.
The mum of two, 41, told him she did not expect him to stick around, knowing her gruelling treatment would put pressure on their fragile family set-up.
She told the Sunday People : I loved Darren but realised it was a lot for him to take on. I wrote him a card saying, ‘Things will get tough from now on. I understand if it’s too much.’
But the cancer only kicked Darren, 51, into action. And, instead of driving them apart, it led to him planning a secret Las Vegas wedding.
Darren, a mortgage complaint handler, had been as floored as she had by the diagnosis.
She said: I just didn’t understand it. I was fit, exercised, didn’t have any family history.
Darren and I both have children from previous marriages . Life as a blended family hadn’t been easy but Darren’s patience helped to bind us.
“Then cancer came out of the blue. I felt like a burden. I feared it’d be too much to take on.
After having a lump removed, Sylvia started chemo and radiotherapy.
My hair fell out in clumps. I felt so unattractive. But he told me I looked beautiful.
I didn’t want my children to see me upset so we tried to make it fun. We shaved it off and Darren vacuumed my head.
“The kids were in hysterics. I tried to laugh too – determined not to make them sad or scared.
It was during these dark times that she turned to a journal she kept to document her journey.
I wrote early on saying I had so much to live for and all the lovely things Darren said to me. I read it when I felt low and it gave me strength. I knew I was guilty of taking life for granted.
Determined to grasp every moment, Sylvia started ticking off dreams on a bucket list: taking up rowing, seeing the Northern Lights, visiting Las Vegas.
So the couple, who had been together four years, booked a trip to Sin City to celebrate the end of her treatment. But Darren had a surprise up his sleeve.
Days before, he said, ‘Why don’t we get married in secret in Vegas?’ I couldn’t believe it.
Sylvia’s children Alex,13, and Laura, 15, and Darren’s two, Stacey,28, and Sam, 25, did not suspect a thing.
So last July, seven months after her treatment, they wed in an emotional ceremony.
Sylvia said: Darren was shaking when he saw me coming down the aisle. It meant the world for us to get married.
He’s been my rock.
Afterwards, they called their children to break the news.
She said: I felt so excited. What a secret to keep. They were shocked but so happy.
Married life has not been without its challenges. Sylvia is now on the cancer prevention drug Tamoxifen, a side effect of which is an early menopause.
She said: It has affected my sex drive. Darren has been as supportive as ever, reassuring me that it’s not an issue.
He is my strength. He’s supported me unconditionally and is everything I ever wanted in a husband.
? For care, support and information, call Breast Cancer Care free on 0808 800 6000 or visit breastcancercare.org.uk
News Source MirrorNews