Jordan Bone from King’s Lynn on how she survived cancer and a horrific car accident in new book My Beautiful Struggle
- Credit: Ian Burt
'I'm sorry, Jordan, but it's bad news. The mole is cancerous. You have malignant melanoma.' The doctor paused, her voice sounding strangely distant at the end of the phone line.
For the second time in my 20 years, I saw my life flash in front of me.
'Jordan, haven't you been through enough?' Mum was angry now. She stared into the garden, her lips twisted with unsaid words. I wheeled over to her and put my hand on hers.
'I don't think we can take any more. I feel like this is your rock bottom, Jordan. All I can say is that you must have some pretty harsh karma to burn off!'
I smiled at that. Mum's sense of humour hadn't entirely fled her. 'It's going to be OK, I know it is. How many bad things can happen to one person, you know? Must be my turn to be OK, I reckon.' I wanted desperately to reassure her.
I was so young to be told such an awful thing, that at the age of 20 I had cancer.
I know I am one of the lucky ones. I feel so thankful that I was spared another blow to my health.
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Since I had that mole taken off my leg, I've had another six moles removed from other parts of my body. It brings it home how it's always best to be safe in the sun.
I was so lucky to catch it in time, but it can happen to anybody. Remember that you're important, and you're worth spending the time it takes putting on fake tan.
I broke my neck, and then got skin cancer. That's pretty unlucky! Yet the experience taught me so many lessons.
It was a real wake-up call to live my life and not waste a second of it. I realised that this life is my one chance of being 'me', if that makes sense, and I want to live the best life I possibly can. I deserve it. You deserve it too. Be the very best 'you' you can.
The cancer diagnosis was shocking, but I had found a new way to deal with what life throws at me by staying focused and positive.
I understood that there is always a way round things, and despite things going wrong, there is nothing to hold you back – nothing.
I learnt to switch my negative thoughts to positive ones through meditation. I focused on mindfulness, which meant I became conscious of the thoughts as they came.
I realised that's all negative thoughts really were; they were just wonky thoughts, and they meant nothing, so why not change them to nice thoughts? It took a while.
I meditated every day for months, spending time shifting the shape of my inner feelings, and it really worked, so much so that I went back to my GP, but this time to ask to come off the antidepressants.
'I think it's time to stop my medication. It's been helpful, but I'm doing so much positive stuff these days, I feel so much happier and more able to get by,' I told my GP.
He'd replied: 'Are you sure, Jordan? You've come through a lot. I don't want you to stop the medication if it's working for you. You might be doing too much at once.'
I could see what he meant, but I was adamant. I was recognising my own strengths and I knew I was ready. It was more like an instinct, but I also knew I had the tools given to me by my online guided meditation sessions to help me if I needed it.
So I cut down quite quickly, and within a couple of months I was free of the drugs.
I would always say to anyone with depression that it's best to seek proper medical help rather than suffer in silence.
That's what I had to do, and it helped. Just because it was right for me to come off antidepressants, it doesn't mean I'm advocating stopping drugs that might be right for you. Always take your doctor's advice.
I also turned my cancer around by making a video called 'Why I Fake Tan' to try and get that message across to others, and to show how dangerous sunbeds can be. I'm worth more than putting my body at risk – and so are you.
I could have looked back at my sunbed use with regrets. I could have been really hard on myself, blaming myself for getting cancer. But I don't do that any more. I forgave myself for doing what I did, and I learnt from the experience.
My cancer showed me – as if I didn't already know – that we only have one life to live, and that knowing that can be the spur to achieve great things. It's pointless regretting our actions. Things happen for a reason, and we have to learn from them and move on.
Don't waste your life in fear or regret – there's so much more to you. Pick yourself up. Dust yourself down, and go for it!