Hayley Smith from Kettering in Northamptonshire has just turned 30, but only has weeks to live after being diagnosed with cancer.
After initially being in total denial and overcome with grief, in her own words, she explains how she's made peace with her diagnosis.
By Hayley Smith
Hearing the words that you have a few months to live at the age of 30 was a tough pill to swallow, to say the least.
In the beginning I was in sheer disbelief, constantly shaking, crying and felt nothing but terror.
After a few days stuck in that rut I decided enough was enough, I had to pick myself up and dust myself off because I know now that my days are numbered.
I wasn’t going to spend them depressed or fighting for something that could never be.
My cancer had spread to both of my lungs, my liver, my leg and my bones - this was 6 weeks ago.
Since then I have continued to live my life as I normally would, but better.
I’ve managed to pack my days with amazing trips to amazing places but most of all I have just enjoyed waking up every day.
I’ve been so lucky because in my short life I’ve managed to achieve so much, not necessarily academically or materialistically but instead I spent all of my twenties travelling the world and partying as much as I could!
And for that reason I have no regrets, my life has been full of nothing but fun and adventures.
And when it all boils down to it, it’s the amazing memories you hold on to, that bring you comfort not the possessions/things you’ve collected.
I guess you could say my life has been one big party, and now it’s closing time - I’ve made peace that it’s time to hang my coat up because I’ve truly had a great time.
What are Sarcomas?
According to the charity Sarcoma UK they are rare cancers that can affect any part of the body including the muscle, bone, tendons, blood vessels and fatty tissues.
15 people are diagnosed with sarcoma every day in the UK. That’s about 5,300 people a year.
They most commonly affect the arms, legs and main body. They also appear in the stomach and intestines as well as behind the abdomen and the female reproductive system.
Hayley desperately wants others not to ignore their symptoms and to seek help straight away if something doesn't seem right.
Her tumour had been there 16 months before she was diagnosed.
Her symptoms included muscle weakness and pain in her lower back and shoulder, but she dismissed it as poor posture because she worked in an office.
She's been treated at Leicester Royal Infirmary at the Specialist Sarcoma clinic, where she was cared for by specialist sarcoma nurse Anita Pabla.