My goal is to write a book to inspire others who care for a loved one who faces the diagnosis of terminal cancer. It will be a message of hope and encouragement. Faced with daily challenges, that you often wonder how you will survive, still know that there is beauty in the resilience and life that is still left to share.
I plan to write short stories of memories each day. These will be a combination of the light and joyful, also the very dark times you inevitably experience during life as a carer.
My husband was diagnosed with a Stage 4 glioblastoma brain cancer when I was 7 months pregnant. We were also planning to get married in 4 days. Our neurosurgeon called it the Rolls Royce of tumours and mentioned after he met us he went home and had an extra glass of red wine that night. We didn’t want to know the prognosis and were just focussed on the birth of our son and ensuring we would be together on that day. He died 5 months later.
It’s an onerous task to write these experiences but I believe it will also be a cathartic one. Coming up to the two year anniversary since his death I feel I am finally ready to face the task of sharing our story head on. Very few people knew what we were going through, or that we’d even had a baby or were married. As the director of a successful digital media company, with long term national contracts, I felt our clients didn’t need to know. The regular meetings stopped but otherwise it had to appear as business as usual. My business in the end was my saving grace as I navigated this alien medical world of daily appointments.
The people on the journey, the strangers that became life-long friends, the family we had to distance ourselves from that sapped energy and the medical professionals that I was in constant awe of will all be central to the journey.
My decision to participate in a half marathon event with the Cancer Council in Victoria recently seemed to be a good way to finally share our story. They say be careful for what you wish for… I’d written a short summary paragraph why I was participating and within days I was one of the leading fundraisers. Friends and family donated surprisingly large amounts and it was quickly noticed by the events team. They invited me to work with their media department asking if I like to be interviewed for an article in the Herald Sun, one of our state newspapers. My son and I had a fun photoshoot by the lake and were interviewed. The journalist was sensitive yet still asked the tough questions,then a few days later there it all was in print.
Friends read and scanned the article and published it on social media. My goal to share my story was certainly realised! The next few days were spent attending to the many shocked yet very supportive messages and phone calls mostly from clients. It was a heart-warming and inspiring piece and further media requests followed. I feel it’s time to now write the truth behind our experience and the grit, patience and courage it takes to continue to love so deeply through turmoil.