A different Kind of Love Story

Alwyn and I met for the very first time in December 1998 when I came to South Africa working as an Au Pair. At the time we were just good friends and in relationships with other people. We stayed in contact through mutual friends. We chatted often not ever knowing we would end up so ‘in love’.

Sparks started to fly in April 2010 when I flew to South Africa for a friend’s wedding. We spent the whole night making excuses to talk to each other. There was definitely chemistry between us.

The day before returning home to Germany, Alwyn took me for a walk on Strand Beach. We spoke about the wedding and the good times we had, when all of a sudden Alwyn stopped, took my hand and surprised me with a kiss. My heart almost jumped out of my chest. What a kiss!

Back in Germany Alwyn and I remained in contact, we spent hours in front of the computer getting to know each other. Everything just felt familiar, as if we had known each other forever. Alwyn came to visit me in June 2010 and after a wonderful time together we decided I would leave Berlin and move to Cape Town to stay with him. We wanted to be together forever.

I was getting my ‘new’ life on track in Cape Town after the move when I felt the lump in my breast for the first time in January 2011 despite being checked out at a gynaecologist before leaving Germany. The doctor was suspicious and scheduled a mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy. Thereafter it was confirmed. I was diagnosed with breast cancer, stage 3! I was in shock – ME – Breast Cancer? I lead such a healthy life, loving fruit and vegetables and exercising regularly with no family history of cancer whatsoever. I thought: how can this be true? My world stood still, I had just left my home to be with the man of my dreams, to start a new life and now this?

My Mum arrived 2 days after the diagnosis, meeting Alwyn for the second time only. The first time they met was very brief. We went for a second opinion
and after a long day with more tests, we found out I had breast cancer, stage 4, which had already spread to my lymph nodes and liver. Since February 2011 I have had 5 different types of Chemotherapy treatments. I have experienced
all of the common side effects: nausea, vomiting, mouth ulcers, skin irritation, bladder infections. You name it, I have had it. I am currently now on
Chemo number 5. The cancer shrank by 75% over the year but sadly shot back in May this year, spreading to my brain. I subsequently underwent
successful brain surgery and radiation which removed the cancer. I recovered very quickly and was yet again so thankful to the Lord, sending me
angels to protect me. I was not scared, knowing it would all turn out for the better. I was so thankful when I opened my eyes and I realised everything
still smelt, tasted, looked and sounded the same. I was most afraid of waking up with a loss of all my senses. Not knowing who I was or where I was. The
breast cancer is still present and aggressive, having spread to my lungs and bones. I am not scared of these ‘bad boy’ cancer cells, I know sooner or later
I am going to beat them. Cancer will not rule my life and define who I am.
If you keep your spirits up and stay positive you can win ANY battle. Life is SO beautiful and SO worth fighting for. This is something I live by every day.

On 14 January 2012 on the beach where Alwyn and I shared our very first kiss, Alwyn proposed to me. Without a doubt in my mind I said yes! We decided
that we still wanted to get married this year. 2012 is going to rock and will be our year! We had a setback in May with my brain surgery, but yet we had faith
that everything would be fine. On 27 October 2012 I became Mrs. Helen
Badenhorst. What a beautiful wedding weekend it was in Matjiesfontein, our friends and family flew in from all over the world to join us in celebrating our
special day. It was a day we will never forget, so precious, so emotional.

For our honeymoon Alwyn and I are looking forward to a white Christmas in Germany, UK and even skiing in Austria!

I believe everything happens for a reason and this is the path that God has chosen for me. He will walk it with me and carry me if need be. I have been blessed with so many lovely people to keep my spirits up, to keep fighting, and to keep believing that one day I can call myself a survivor. Until then I have the following motto on life: Live every moment, Laugh every day, Love beyond measure.

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