For one local cancer survivor, receiving help was one of the hardest aspects of her time living with the life-threatening disease.
Kaitangata local Faylyn Milne was diagnosed with a Ewing Sarcoma in her leg back in 2016 — and her life changed forever.
Upon finding a coin-sized lump in her leg in January 2016, she went to the doctors and was told it was just a fatty cell.
She returned that June to be informed she needed to return the next day.
A week later, a trip to Dunedin Hospital with X-rays, bone marrow tests and scans saw the lump had become 23cm x 13cm x 12cm — much bigger than she first had.
Mrs Milne was in with an oncologist right away.
A heartbreaking moment was when doctors checked her Pet scan and told her ‘‘there wasn’t much they could do’’.
Mrs Milne, her husband Tony and her three children — Zara, who was 10 at the time, and twins Miley and Ava who were both 7 — were ‘‘shaken’’ by the news.
‘‘We didn’t know what was next. Hearing that was something you never want to hear.’’
Her oncologist suggested an option for a trial, which they had tried ‘‘a few times without success,’’ but she decided to take it instantly.
‘‘I would have taken anything at that stage. So I did.’’
Mrs Milne had chemotherapy from August 23 until the end of October and then was taken to Christchurch to have the sarcoma removed.
‘‘I was told I’d never be able to walk again by the doctors.’’
But she had a different plan.
‘‘There was no way in hell I was never going to walk again,’’ she said.
After six weeks of maximum radiation along with her chemotherapy, Mrs Milne began to teach herself to walk.
‘‘I was very sick and weak, but I knew in my heart I could walk again.’’
It was during this time she received endless support from her community and the people around her.
‘‘People would bring meals, helped with the kids and did everything I would usually never ask for,’’ she said. ‘‘It was the hardest thing, having to sit there and let people take care of me.
‘‘Usually I’m wanting to do it all myself. This is why when I am able to in today’s time, I will always help and give back to others in need.’’
‘‘I’m so appreciative of everyone. I can feel how much I appreciate things more in everyday life too.’’
Her last treatment took place exactly one year after her first.
Through determination and the help of a song, she can walk today.
‘‘I remember being in the room and knowing I was going to get myself up and walk, because I couldn’t just not.’’
‘‘This one song, Fight Song by Rachel Platten. I would scream it and yell it as loud as I could and get up and stand for a bit and try to walk.’’
Her leg would cross over the other and cause her to fall down, but Mrs Milne tricked her brain into walking straight with a mirror and continued to use the song every day.
In the seven years since her diagnosis, Mrs Milne has achieved things she ‘‘never thought she would.’’
She has played a season of netball as a goal keeper, and has completed her full teaching degree.
She is nearly completely registered for teaching.
She says every time she does something she would have initially thought was small, she nearly cries.
‘‘Every time I get up on the dance floor, and every time I stepped on the netball court this season, I was nearly in tears. It’s now the little things that I appreciate more than anything.’’
She thanked friends and mother-daughter duo Joyce and Susan Beck for taking the children while she was in hospital, along with every community member who helped her family during the tough time.
She was very appreciative of her work mates and friends who understood the challenges she faced in her daily life and continued to support her.