Cherie Howie is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Wedding, new home, dream holiday for Napier cop a year after second cancer diagnosis

Cancer survivor Constable Alana Jamieson, centre, with fiance Scott Munro, retired police dog Cypress, and her son, Rylin Glenny, 9. Photo / Duncan Brown
Cancer survivor Constable Alana Jamieson, centre, with fiance Scott Munro, retired police dog Cypress, and her son, Rylin Glenny, 9. Photo / Duncan Brown

The past year has been the best and the worst of Constable Alana Jamieson's life.

The Napier police officer and mum-of-one was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer a year ago, aged 28.

That was rare in itself - breast cancer is unusual in women aged in their 20s - but the devastating diagnosis also came three years after Jamieson survived stage two melanoma.

Cancer experts said at the time not only was it unusual to get melanoma or breast cancer so young, it was almost unheard of to be diagnosed with both at separate times.

None of that changed Jamieson's situation, and she embarked on treatment, including a single mastectomy on her 29th birthday, and 18 gruelling weeks of chemotherapy.

One year on she is well, engaged and building a new home.

This is her story of hope.

"People have been asking 'was the last year of your life the worst?', and it was the worst. But in some ways it was the best year of my life," she told the Herald on Sunday this week.

"I've learned you can't take life for granted. You need to love every day and make new memories every day.

"Tell your family you love them, tell your friends, tell your partner. Keep everyone
close. this has made me focus so much more on family."

That's what being diagnosed with cancer twice before the age of 30 means.

It also means realising you will never be as fit and energetic as you once were, and realising that's okay, Jamieson said.

"I don't think I'll ever be the person I was before. My body will never be the same. This is the new me, and I'm learning to love the new me."

Constable Alana Jamieson promised her 9-year-old son, Rylin Glenny, that she would not succumb to breast cancer. Photo/Supplied
Constable Alana Jamieson promised her 9-year-old son, Rylin Glenny, that she would not succumb to breast cancer. Photo/Supplied

Life's pretty good for the new Jamieson.

Thirteen days after her final chemotherapy treatment her partner, fellow cop Scott Munro, proposed. She said yes.

For the past five months the couple, who will marry at Hawke's Bay's Linden Estate Winery in February next year, have been building a house in Napier. They hope to move in early next month, she said.

"It's absolutely beautiful."

There are still challenges ahead. Jamieson will have her remaining breast removed as a precaution next month. She won't officially get the all clear from cancer for five years, but was told at her last appointment with her breast surgeon that everything was looking good.

There's so much to look forward to - including a surprise holiday to the United States next year for her 9-year-old son, Rylin.

And continuing to share her gratitude and love to the many people who helped her in the past year, including friends and colleagues who supported her through her darkest days.

Support ranged from various fundraisers to Eastern District Commander, Superintendent Sandra Venables, calling every few weeks to offer help around the house.

Jamieson said she was grateful for the support.

"I don't think you ever realise how important your family and friends are until you go through something like this."

- Herald on Sunday

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf02 at 25 Feb 2017 23:00:00 Processing Time: 577ms