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A cancer survivor celebrated her recovery on this trip

Recently updated on July 5th, 2023 at 02:09 pm

When New Zealander Delwyn was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013, she was utterly shocked. With no family history of the condition, the diagnosis came out of nowhere, and Delwyn began an almost year-long battle for her health. When she reached the other side and was finally rid of the disease, she decided to make a change in her life, and – after finally setting a wedding date with her partner of 9 years – booked the European Trafalgar adventure of a lifetime to celebrate.

Tell us about your diagnosis.

“In August 2013 I noticed a slight flat patch on the bottom of my left breast.  Now they say ‘don’t google’, but in this case it saved my life as it told me that it could be a tumour inside puckering the skin.  We went to my doctor who sent me to a specialist and after a mammogram which was clear, they did an ultrasound which showed an abnormality.  It was a battery of scans and tests and surgery. 

First up was surgery to remove the lump, then 6 rounds of chemotherapy over 18 weeks.  Then another surgery to clear my armpit lymph nodes as the cancer had got to them.  This was followed by 6 weeks of daily radiotherapy.  Finally, in July 2014, I reached the end of the battle, the longest 11 months of my life. 

I’m a positive, happy person by nature but boy, this diagnosis threw me.  There was no family history, it was just my turn.  Every day in New Zealand up to 9 women will be diagnosed, which is very scary for our small country.”

Throughout her fight with cancer, travelling to Europe had always been one of Delwyn’s dreams.

It’s so important to try and focus on positive things.  As with a lot of people, I had always dreamed of seeing the Eiffel Tower, so for this dream to come true was just so amazing. It has made me appreciate what I have and to try and make the most of each day, which is easier said than done when we are just going along day by day.  I do count my blessings though, as I have lost 4 friends to this disease since I was diagnosed. It also gave us the push to book our trip, as we thought, “why wait?”

Were there any moments that were particularly special on your trip?

It became clear quite soon on that I was the ‘bawler’ of the tour, but seriously, standing under the magnificent Eiffel Tower, I had tears dripping off my nose and down my neck!  One of my beautiful new friends, who had early on nicknamed me “Sunshine” said worriedly, in her lovely South African accent “Sunshine, are you ok? Why are you crying?”  I had to try and speak and just say I was so overwhelmed and happy to finally see this incredible, iconic landmark as 4 years earlier I wasn’t sure I would ever get anywhere, ever again.

Singing my wedding song “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran, with the duo at our dinner in Tuscany was also pretty special.

We also came across a fundraising run for breast cancer in beautiful Liechtenstein, so I went and introduced myself as a survivor, to a group of girls (luckily one of them spoke some English).  This was a touching experience as they would have all either had, or known someone who had cancer, to be competing in the run.  I suggested a group photo which they were very keen for.

RELATED CONTENT: 27 Reasons why a trip to Europe is good for the soul

Will you be travelling with us again in the future?

We would dearly love to do another trip.  We started saving the day we got back!! 

We are thinking maybe Croatia, Greece, more of the bottom of Italy & Sardinia.  Spain & Portugal?  More of France.  Just… more of everywhere!

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