Young couple Diana and Gareth Milne are making the most of what little time they have left together.
The Papatoetoe residents tied the knot two years ago, just before Diana was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Now they have received more devastating news - the cancer has spread to her bones and lungs.
Diana, 32, has been given about a year to live.
And Gareth soon has to have surgery to correct a curve in his spine.
Both have given up their jobs to spend time together.
"Treasure your precious moments," Diana says.
"Make the most of every day because you don't know when you may not have tomorrow."
Diana noticed a shadow on her breast back in July 2011 and Gareth encouraged her to get it checked by a doctor.
Mammograms are not effective in women under the age of 40 so Diana had never had regular checks.
It was confirmed to be triple negative breast cancer, one of the most aggressive forms that is often diagnosed in younger women.
Diana had chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment as well as a mastectomy.
The Milnes thought she was all clear until a few months ago when Diana started to get back pain.
The doctor noticed lumps in her lymph nodes and it was confirmed a secondary cancer had formed.
Now Diana is on chemotherapy again to prolong the time she has left.
She says it is really important to know and be comfortable in your own body.
"Being younger I knew about breast cancer but I just didn't think about it," she says.
She and Gareth are planning to go on an overseas holiday together after his surgery.
For now, they are just enjoying the little things, like going for rides on their motorcycle together.
SIGNS OF BREAST CANCER
October is Breast Cancer Month when the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation aims to educate women to be aware of all the signs and to report any changes to their doctor.
It is the first time the campaign has focused on signs and symptoms.
Foundation chief executive Van Henderson says about half of all breast cancers are detected outside of mammogram screening.
About 2800 Kiwi women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year and more than 600 will die of the disease.
All women aged over 20 should know the normal look and feel of their breasts so they can report any changes.
Women should have regular mammograms from the age of 40.
As well as a lump in the breast, signs of breast cancer include:
Changes in the skin of the breast, including dimpling, puckering or redness.
A change in breast shape or size.
Unusual breast pain.
Changes in the nipple or a turned-in nipple.
A nipple discharge.
Go to anychanges.co.nz for more information.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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