The Peko Proposal

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
― Lao Tzu

Sorry, I know it has been a little while. I guess it is because I know I have the surgery to write about next…. and every new post is like reliving the moment… Life has been hard enough of late without reliving that dark time just right now. However, before every night there is a day. My partner is my day… So to ease into talking about the surgery, today I will talk about what happened before and how even though things don’t always go to plan, as long as the heart is true, they are still beautiful.

Three years ago, I was recovering from a difficult relationship. While I tried to find myself again, I instead found Nick. At the time I tried to keep him at arms length but it just didn’t work, my heart wouldn’t let me. We shared an intense friendship, that was always something more. There was a deep kinship there, a deeper connection that could not be denied. Talking to him felt like talking to an extension of myself. Like being reunited with a part that had always been meant to be there and that I had known was missing but had never been able to pinpoint before. Within weeks I found it hard to believe I hadn’t known him all my life. I wondered how I had got by before he was there. Eventually we both admitted that friendship wasn’t enough and tentatively moved forwards. I expected heartbreak, betrayal, disaster, criticism at every step…. but it never came. Eventually I stopped expecting. I wasn’t perfect, he wasn’t perfect… but it didn’t matter because somehow, when we were together… we were. Our personalities clicked together like a puzzle, he fixed my insecurities and failings and I fixed his. Together we were whole. We fitted a lifetime into our short time together. I always knew we would get married. We would have children. We would grow old together. Our future was already laid out ahead of us, there was never any doubt and yet that wasn’t scary. I believe he felt the same. In this, I feel my sickness robbed both our futures. I hope in some alternate universe, this never happened… and Mae and Nick had a normal life, had the children they dreamed of and grew old together. Anyway, I digress…. in short, nick is my one. He is my best friend, my confident, my other half. My souls mate. I can’t imagine a time with anyone else.

During my illness he was my one constant. Forever by my side. My voice when I was too scared or too sad to talk for myself. My advocate. My fierce protector. He felt every pain as intensely as I did. He took every new indignity in his stride, every gut issue, every vomit, every lash out. In fact every off putting undignified aspect of my disease, of which there were many… It is not a pretty disease…. yet through it all he never bat an eye, never showed any disgust or frustration, only love and understanding. Not out of obligation but out of pure love. To this day I still don’t know how he managed. He is the most incredible person I have ever known.

The night of the surgery was no different. We were both exhausted from a night spent in the emergency room, where he had stayed up all night just to hold my hand, manage the doctors and help me feel safe. This had then been followed by a day of insecurity and fear in the new and distressing hospital. I was undergoing a preparation for the upcoming surgery, known as a ‘peko prep’ where basically you had to drink a nasty tasting drink that made you have to go to the toilet every five seconds (literally) for what seemed like forever in order to clear out your guts completely for surgery. It wasn’t sexy. I was a wreck. He was a wreck. Between my frequent toilet trips we stole hugs where we could and tried to steel ourselves for the next day.

Somewhere in that blur of a night he got down on one knee beside my hospital bed and he produced a ring and whispered the question…..

It mightn’t be the proposal every girl dreamed of…. we were both sweaty and exhausted, bags under our eyes and tangled hair… I was wearing a hospital gown and a nappy rather than a flowing evening gown and he certainly wasn’t in a tux. We were in a cramped hospital ward, not a fancy restaurant. We were serenaded not by a string orchestra, but by the three old men in the accompanying beds, one of which was snoring, one of which was coughing and the third… farting. But somehow, that all just made it all the more beautiful. In such an unsexy, horrible and tragic situation, not knowing what the future held… this man still wanted to marry me. And isn’t that what true love is all about? Love me even at my worst, and this was certainly my worst.

“About fucking time” I believe I delicately said….  but then the peko prep kicked in and I had to romantically follow with “Oh bugger… annnnnd now I have to poop”  and rushed off to the bathroom leaving him kneeling by the bed, ring in hand.

(Nick now likes to joke that I was so excited about the romanticness of the proposal that I pooped myself. Yup. We are a classy pair)

To my now husband, thankyou. I love you. I always will.


And for the curious, the ring was amazing. Previously Nick had worked with an incredible metal working jeweler to make a custom broach of one of my beloved rabbits when he passed away, the broach quickly became my favourite thing EVER. So Nick got in touch with him again when he was thinking of a ring and together, over many months, they created a one of a kind ring…. it has a stylized steampunkesh ‘diamond’ on top and my two heart animals on the sides, a bunny running down one side and a cat down the other (if you know me, you know how obsessed I am with my fur children so this should all make sense). I love it. Words cannot describe how much I love it 🙂


And here is a link to the AMAZING David Loong, he was an absolute pleasure to work with, his jewelry is THE BEST and we are eternally grateful for the part he played in making our story unique


No time to waste…

“Go back?” he thought. “No good at all! Go sideways? Impossible! Go forward? Only thing to do! On we go!” So up he got, and trotted along with his little sword held in front of him and one hand feeling the wall, and his heart all of a patter and a pitter.”
― J.R.R. TolkienThe Hobbit

Not soon after we were home to wait… but about a day in I got the call.

Your case has been discussed. We are bringing things forward. Can you get back to Sydney for surgery in two days?

Wow. Yes. Ok. Yes.

Everything shifted again. Chemo after, for now, surgery is the priority as without the tumour removal there was a risk I may get a fatal bowel obstruction. It was sudden and terrifying but this change of plan was a good thing, I was still vomiting frequently and the gastric pain was bad… I hadn’t been relishing the idea of a long wait. On the other hand, I had been expecting to have months to prepare. In hindsight, I am so glad I didn’t. I would have researched, I would have stressed… better to jump in the deep end and get things over with.

The rightness of the decision proved itself when the night before heading up to Sydney things went pear shaped. The pain and vomiting had got worse but more notably…. I couldn’t urinate. There is nothing more uncomfortable than needing to empty your bladder and for some reason being physically incapable. I struggled with it for a few hours, scared but determined that nothing was wrong. I would be in surgery the next day, just need to hold on… hold on hold on hold on….. eventually my long suffering partner had had enough of my protests and dragged me into the emergency room.

I was scared, shaking, incoherent. Severely dehydrated. The emergency staff put me on a drip and let me know they were going to put in a urinary catheter. It wouldn’t hurt.

It HURT. Badly. I was acutely aware of it,  I begged to have it removed. My whole being became focused on getting that thing removed. It hurt and nobody would believe me. I struggled to explain that I wasn’t just overreacting, the catheter really did genuinely hurt. I have a high tolerance for pain, but something was wrong. Nobody heeded, the catheter stayed.  The clock crawled.

What followed was a very painful, desperately uncomfortable night… leading to a new found fear of urinary catheters and emergency rooms.

In the morning we were cleared to leave for Sydney. No time was soon enough, I was now a very high risk for bowel obstruction. If my bowel ruptured before they could do the surgery I was in big trouble. It was never going to be a comfortable ride but we were blessed to have the actual driving taken care of by my dad and step mother. I don’t know how we could have got through any of the things we did without the support and understanding of family. Throughout, my guts were haywire. I had no control. I felt humiliated. There is no dignity in having no control over your bowels. Colon cancer is not a a dignified disease all round really. The one bright spark was having that wretched catheter removed.  I was advised I needed to have it in for the drive. I refused.  I am so glad I did, when I started bleeding later we found that the catheter had indeed been improperly placed. It was not the emergency centers fault, my tumour had made things ‘not as they should be’ but I still wish they had listened when I said how much it hurt. It was a lesson in believing what my own body was trying to tell me. I have had many urinary catheters placed since and none of them have hurt.

The first day in hospital was less than wonderful. The hospital was dark, dingy, scary and there were some worrying teething issues with my admittance. Nothing I will go into here… but basically I was left with many doubts. I felt so unsafe and was seriously second guessing my decision to change teams. Suddenly the idea of surgery there was terrifying, if this was their wards, how were their surgical suites? I was set up in a crowded four bed room. We had private health insurance but for this surgery it doesn’t matter, you still need to go through the public system. My roommates were three old men.

Tomorrow would be my surgery. I wasn’t ready. It was all going to go wrong. I was sure I was going to die.

I pulled my curtains and cried.



“There are moments that define a person’s whole life. MOMENTS in which everything they are and everything they may possibly become hinge on a single decision.”
― Jonathan MaberryRot and Ruin

Today I am remembering Sydney. And I am remembering the decision that would change my life.

One of my ovaries had a massive tumour in it, the other may have had one too but it was hard to tell at this stage. I was scared but I felt relief in finally knowing I wasn’t crazy, something HAD been wrong and now I was going to get it fixed. I was going to have surgery… the doctors would try and save the second ovary, they would succeed and then as soon as I started feeling better I would begin my own family, just a little ahead of schedule but that’s okay. I would look back many years down the track and bravely declare how the whole thing had been a blessing, fate had sent me a wake up call that it was time to get on with having my first child. It would be a tale I would tell my children about when they were older, the tale of how they almost ‘never were’. I guess at this stage, for whatever reason, I didn’t really understand that having a tumour meant I already had ‘cancer’…. I just had an ovarian tumour and they were going to take it out and I was going to be fine.

The royal woman’s hospital in Sydney was lovely, everyone was very kind. I was surrounded by loving family, flowers, support. I’d be out of there in no time. I was still vomiting every hour or so (up to four times each time) and the abdominal pain was starting to get very bad, none of the pain meds seemed to be able to touch it… but it was easier to deal with now I knew what was causing everything and I was getting it fixed.

Just before my surgery my surgeon decided to do some extra tests, notably, a colonoscopy. A precaution. My vomiting and abdominal pain were not consistent with ovarian issues. Probably nothing… but we just have to check. I thought nothing of it. The prep sucked. Tasted horrible and it was a long, long night on the toilet, but nothing major.

I understand colonoscopies are usually quite straight forward. I was given a drug that sent me off with the fairies. I vaguely remember parts of the colonoscopy, being told to please keep calm, gentle pats, a flash of something on a screen? Flashes of confused jumbled memory. But most of it is a blank.

I woke up in agony. I felt like I couldn’t breath. I was terrified.

Eventually things stopped hurting. I came back to earth. Become more coherent. From what I have learned since, just as a reassurance to anyone yet to get one, this isn’t normal, usually you wake up feeling fine. I think my issue is that because of the tumours I didn’t have much ‘room’ so all the extra air pumped in there was very painful.

I noticed people were looking at me differently, I didn’t understand. It was just routine right? What’s the big deal? Everything’s ok now, the pain has gone… it was just a bad wake up. Why is everyone looking like that?

A surgeon came to talk to me. I could see the pity in their eyes. This worried and confused me. The curtain was pulled and my partner held my hand. To be honest, I barely remember the conversation now.

The colonscopy. It found something. A primary. A big one.

I didn’t understand the significance.

So, I’ll just need extra surgery? That’s ok. Bit extra. That’s ok, right?

No. Look. It’s cancer. A primary cancer. You have metastatic cancer. It’s gone from your bowel to the ovaries. I’m so sorry.

Oh. But… wait. What about kids?

I’m so, so, sorry. No… no you can’t have kids.

It seems stupid now, but at that stage that was all I heard. The rest just went over my head. Not having kids was my worst case scenario. I was so busy coming to terms with the fact that I wouldn’t be a mum that I didn’t even process that having metastatic cancer  meant I probably only had a few years left myself (if I was lucky!).

Eventually, over a few days I finally understood. I was stage IV. This was serious. This was a big deal. Forget about kids.

I might die.

The shock hit me like a tonne of bricks. The whole time after that was a blur. A haze of grief and confusion. I had test after test after test, never ending tests while they tried to get a better picture of what they were dealing with. I joke that I have had just about all the medical tests possible… but it’s closer to the truth then I care to remember. My partner stayed by my side every step of the way. To cheer me up, he bought some pretty paper and made me a new origami animal for every day I was stuck in hospital. It gave me something to look forward to. A break in the monotony. Soon the days added up and my room was full of origami animals, people started popping in just to see which new animal I had today.

Every day stretched into an eternity of waiting. I was aware of every passing second.  The nights were always the hardest because there was no way to escape the thoughts, the fear. Every night felt like a year. There was a big outpouring of support, every day I got cards, presents, flowers, texts. My family traveled up to stay and they all rallied, they were amazing and I felt so loved. Some friends came out of the woodwork too and went above and beyond to show me they cared, others offered lighthearted cheer that probably did more harm than good, and others still just seemed to completely disappear. This is normal.

Despite all the love I felt distant from it all. I struggled with anger. Anger that this happened to me, yet everyone else was still fine. That my world had ground to a halt yet everyone else’s were still moving on like nothing happened. All I wanted was for the hospital to stop doing tests and start TREATING… I missed my animals. A friend went to visit them and sent me pictures and videos. I cried and watched the video over and over. I just wanted to go home. I became obsessed with the idea of going home.

One of the tests  sticks clearest in my memory, I had to have the fluid drained from my abdomen because I had started having trouble breathing. The actual draining certainly wasn’t comfortable… but I was used to needles now. The real fear was the wait that followed. The fluid had to be analysed, and if it had cancer cells in it… I had weeks to live.  If it didn’t, we had more time. Waiting for those results was one of the scariest things I have ever done. That small test would decided whether it was even worth pursuing treatment. That small test became the center of my universe. Would I live or would I die?

The fluid was clear.

I remember the joy. A bright spark in a dark time. My family and I rejoiced. I found I could still smile. I had an enemy I could fight now.

During the endless tests my surgeons had been taking their time designing the best plan. They were friendly, positive. Every time I spoke to them I felt more like I could fight this thing. My surgical gynecologist in particular was my hero. I idolised her, had complete faith. She would save me. She had to. A plan was made. Chemo. Followed by a Surgery where they cut out the cancers. All very straightforward.

Then everything changed. My uncle came to see me. He talked to me about an alternative. There is another surgeon at a different hospital. A surgeon that does a very different kind of surgery. A controversial surgery, but it might give me a better chance. I talked with my current surgical team. I loved them and I loved the hospital, but if a change could give me a better chance? They did not seem keen. The alternative surgery plan was extremely aggressive, extremely painful, risky. There is significant controversy as to whether it even works given that there is not a large amount of statistical research on it yet. That other surgeon was the only one in Australia that would do it, he isn’t well liked among other surgeons. The surgeon was Professor Morris and the surgery he does is called a Peritonectomy with Hipec. It is most effective for things like stomach cancer, but has been used in a limited capacity for colon cancer patients too. It is a nine hour surgery, known colloquially as the ‘grand daddy of all surgeries’, they cut right through your middle, pull out everything with cancer on it… but then they also rip out the full peritoneal layer…  and then to finish things they pour hot chemo into the abdomen and flush it around for about 40 minutes. So. Ouch.

I felt safe with my current surgical team, but decided to go meet the other surgeon anyway. Just talk to him.

The hospital certainly wasn’t as flash as the Royal Woman’s. But the surgeon was charismatic, friendly, confident. I liked him instantly. He made me feel like this was something I could beat. However, I needed to hit it hard, my old plan was too conservative, it ignored the fact that there was likely peritoneal spread. Plus, the Hipec would get all the microscopic cancer cells. He could save me, I just had to have courage. I was convinced. He sent my partner and I on to meet his oncologist. The oncologist was blunt. Very blunt. The polar opposite of the Prof. Polite but impersonal. Businesslike. I asked him what my chances were with the surgery. Unlike everyone else, he didn’t evade the question, he didn’t sugarcoat it. I wasn’t used to this and it hurt.

With the peritonectomy surgery? Depends on your grade, but probably still less than three percent. Without it? Basically? Well. Zero.

I was in shock. I couldn’t breath. I am doing all this for less than three percent? Is there even any point? I am going to die. I am actually, seriously going to die. I fell into a black hole. I didn’t know what to do. I suddenly felt a terribly bad vibe about the peritonectomy, fear swallowed me up whenever I thought of the surgery. It was a big change to before. The original surgical team had made me feel so safe, so confident, I hadn’t feared surgery there and surely that means SOMETHING. My instincts telling me SOMETHING. But what if that safety was just in my head? Because the team was so much gentler?

The days that followed were excruciating. Haunted by those odds. Those terrible odds. I negotiated with the two hospitals. Both teams seemed to think the other teams surgical plan would not work.

It was an impossible decision. On the one hand, I had the Royal Woman’s with my amazingly supportive doctors, the loving team, the gynecologist that I connected with and trusted completely. The team that made me feel good, confident. It was a conservative route, but scientific, studied, careful, reputable. Safe. Why go down a dangerous experimental route unnecessarily? Can I even trust the other surgeon? Controversial reputations don’t come from nothing.

On the other hand, I had my radical surgeon. He was charasmatic, convincing. I didn’t like the hospital and I didn’t feel the same bond with his team because they forced me to see the harsh reality, how bad the situation was. I hated that reality, but did that mean I should hide from it? If I wanted to live, shouldn’t I try EVERYTHING? Take chances? I am young, I am strong.

In the end both teams said I had to be the one to choose. I didn’t know how. I changed my mind every hour. I didn’t have the medical experience to make a decision like this. How could I choose? When making the wrong decision would take my life?

In the end, my gynecological surgeon had the thought to bring in an independent adviser. He had worked in both teams, the ‘controversial’ team and the ‘conservative’ team.

Both teams are amazing, the adviser explained, both teams will do their utmost. But, look, if it were my sister… well I would want her to try the biggest route she could. Because when it’s like this? What do you have to lose. Both teams are trustworthy… the reputation is political, Prof is an excellent surgeon. He is experienced, you can trust him. So both your plans are good… but one is going to do a little… extra… go a little further… It’ll be harder… but… you know your odds aren’t great. Do you understand?

I understood.

It broke my heart but I left my beautiful team behind,the team that had made me feel safe…  and signed up for a Peritonectomy. I still didn’t know if it was the right decision and I was so scared. But I was strong. I had to try to do everything I could. I didn’t ever want to be on my death bed and having regrets for not having the courage to  take a chance.

I went home to prepare, to see my animals, to process. It was so good to be home.


Life, Interrupted – Initial Diagnosis

“When ill luck begins, it does not come in sprinkles, but in showers.”
― Mark TwainPudd’nhead Wilson

So, here we are, little diary and I, time to start. This is going to be long and overly detailed. You can skim, I don’t mind. Remember, this is just me trying to record every detail  as best I can for my own sake.

I must admit, this is scary. I have spent so much time working on forgetting things that it seems against nature to now try and remember them in such detail! It never really goes away though, everything suppressed just comes back in nightmares. I used to love sleeping, because when I dreamed I never had cancer. I slept as often as I could because it was the only place where things were still normal. However, that was both a blessing and a curse…. because whenever I woke up and it all came back, I would have to mourn it all over again. These days, my brain has caught up so even my dreams have cancer .

Things started slowly. I have never really had a problem with health and there was no family history of anything.

After an ill fated career in academia I had fallen into vet nursing instead and magically, finally felt like I was doing what I was meant to be doing. I loved my job. Even better, after a very rocky previous relationship, I had finally found my soul mate. I knew I would marry him, have an awesome family. I was going to be a great mum, he was going to be a great dad. I was happy. I finally knew exactly where I was going. I was going to nurse another year or two, then apply for vet school, get married, become a vet, have kids… definitely have kids. I was healthy, I was young. 28 years old and my whole life still ahead of me. Things were finally all starting to fall into place.

Then I started getting bad period cramps. I got an ultrasound just to check that nothing sinister was going on. I wasn’t too worried, I’ve always had bad cramps, this was nothing, surely this was nothing. I’ve always been healthy. No family history. The ultrasound came back normal, a small cyst but nothing major. Wait it out, it’ll sort itself out. Phew!

Life went on.

I noticed some changes in my moods, less easy going, quicker to anger…  but I thought I was just stressed. Work was full on. Things were stressful. Nothing to worry about.

The cramps didn’t really get better and I started to have some gut discomfort too. I was still angry a lot of the time. I was fighting with my partner a lot. Fighting with friends. But it was just minor. No biggie. I was stressed. It was fine. Everything was fine.

My beautiful sister’s wedding rolled around. I sadly spent much of it in the bathroom, cramping, uncomfortable. Just a bad period coming along, surely, yes? Except, I wasn’t due. Doesn’t mean anything. I am fine. Stop being  a hypochondriac.

The gut cramps continued, they no longer seemed linked to periods. I worried. I had been putting off seeing a doctor… because I don’t like doctors. I pride myself on not being a hypochondriac. This was nothing. Don’t be silly. I was stressed. Time to get over myself.

We saw a doctor anyway. He was everything I was afraid of. He was rude. Rough. He barely checked me over and his manner was dismissive. “You just need to drink more water” he said “You’re fine”.

I didn’t see another doctor again for quite a while. What was the point? I was just being paranoid, the last doctor proved it. Why waste more money again just to be treated like an idiot.

The discomfort started to get more frequent. My symptoms weren’t painful, just mildly irritating and I was having trouble sleeping. I started to go to the bathroom a lot, but when I went I wasn’t able to ‘do’ much. I felt like I needed to do more but couldn’t. Sometimes I had a bit of nausea. Nothing much.

I idly googled my symptoms. One of the Dr Google suggestions I came across during this time was Colon Cancer. Hahaha! I thought. Well, that just proves it then, doesn’t it? Self diagnose and you can convince yourself you have anything, even some old persons cancer. Ridiculous! Instead, I decided I obviously had some kind of gastric bug. I was a vet nurse, I caught something off a dog. This is no big deal.

Things didn’t resolve and I started to retch a bit. We saw a new doctor. “Probably just a gut thing, get these samples for us, we’ll do some tests”

I did lots of tests. They all came up clear. Nothing’s wrong.

On top of the occasional cramps, irritability and toilet issues, I started to vomit a bit too. Just nerves, stress. I was working full time and doing a distance university course in my ‘spare time’. Of course I was stressed. Eventually, I had an altercation with a colleague at work, it didn’t go well for me. I felt alone. Reviled. Isolated. Work became a chore. Something to overcome.

I started retching more. Maybe I was pregnant? Wouldn’t that be wonderful!? Scary but wonderful! I want kids. I so want kids. Probably not right now… but hey, who cares! Kids! I bought some tests in excited anticipation.

But the pregnancy tests are clear.

The seed of fear started in my head. What if there is something wrong with my ovaries. What if I CAN’T have kids? I always wanted to have kids. Always always always. I couldn’t wait to be a mother. I was so scared. So scared.

Things at work got worse. I was starting to get bullied, excluded, ganged up on. It was like highschool all over again. I was barely holding it together. My emotions started becoming erratic. Spiralling out of control. I cried constantly. I started having suicidal thoughts. I started making plans. Fortunately, somewhere along the way I managed to realise how ridiculous that was and never followed through. Probably helped by the fact some other collegues reached out to me and gave me a shoulder to cry on. I still cant thank them enough. But still, I continued to struggled to keep my emotions in check. I felt like I was going insane.  Studying, working, getting medical tests and on top of that the fear was driving my crazy. I still cried constantly. I ranted, I raved. I was so damn scared. What if there is something wrong? What if I can’t have kids?!? I was irrational. Terrified. Why can’t I stop vomiting? Why can’t I go to the toilet properly? What is this gut ache? Why can’t I control my moods?  Why am I being so over the top when this really isn’t a big deal? What the hell is going on? This isn’t like me.

I took my holiday leave and left work for a while, just thinking about going in had started to make me feel panicked and I couldn’t take it much longer. The environment wasn’t as bad as before, but still poisonous and I didn’t know how to fix it. Couldn’t even focus on fixing it when I felt so scared about everything else. I didn’t want to be there. Plus, I needed to study.

I studied. I started vomiting a lot more. It got to the stage where I was vomiting every ten minutes so I studied with a sick bucket. I couldn’t eat much. Nothing stayed down. So it was just bile. It burned. Study. Vomit. Study. Vomit. Constant cycle.

I sat my exam with a sick bucket. Somehow I still passed. Small victories.

With the distance course out of the way and no abatement in symptoms I renewed interest in finding out what was wrong. I had an abdominal ultrasound. All clear. Everything is fine. Stop stressing. Gotta just be a gut thing, it’ll go away.

We saw a third doctor just in case. She was the first to actually find something physically wrong. “I can feel something” she said “In your abdomen. I am sure I can feel something. It’s probably nothing…  but lets try another ultrasound. A pelvic one this time”.

The ultrasound was going well. The technician was friendly, chatty. Then she became a little distracted. Went over the same area twice. “Umm. Maybe. Uh. Probably nothing. Wait here a moment, I am just going to get a doctor”. She left the room. My partner and I felt like we couldn’t breath. It felt like the longest five minutes in the world.

The doctor came in. He explained that my ovaries were very large. They were about three times the normal size. This might not have been a big thing, ovary size can vary… but when compared to the previous ultrasound when they were so much smaller… well… lets just say it wasn’t normal for them to grow that quickly. You are lucky you had the previous test so we had a comparison. This explains why you were so emotional, vomiting, everything….  you basically had severe morning sickness but without the actual pregnancy.

Oh. Hey. That explains a lot actually.

Still, I panicked. I was a broken record. “I can still have kids though? Tell me I can still have kids?”. Oh yes, probably, he explained. There is only a very small chance this is anything serious. Could be a tumour but even if so probably benign. It is most likely this is some kind of issue with hormone overproduction. Your ovaries should be fine. This should all be reversible. I wouldn’t worry too much but you should follow up with your doctor ASAP.

We went back to the doctor and were then rushed on to a gynecologist. He was lovely, he did some tests. Just precautions. Tumour markers. Just to see what we are dealing with. Can you still have kids? Oh. Most likely.

I waited. Scared.

The tests came back. So. Uh. Yeah. Don’t panic. But..  your markers are very high… it is likely there are actually tumours afterall. It’s ok. It’s ok. No reason to think you can’t have kids.

Tumours. Fuck. Did he say tumours? What does that even mean? Fuck.

I was handed over to a surgical gynecologist with more specialist experience in surgically dealing with ovarian tumours.

She was lovely. I felt safe with her. She explained again, yes, they were tumours. But probably benign. Most likely, no need to jump to worst case scenario. We can operate. Hopefully you can still have kids. We’ll do our best.

I was booked for surgery, my gynocologist mainly did surgery up in Sydney… so we followed her up there. It was sorted quickly and the day after my birthday I was on route to Sydney.

This is when the next round of tests began….    


New Beginnings

What is not started today is never finished tomorrow. -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 

So… Hmm… knowing where to start is always the hardest part, isn’t it? Let’s keep it simple, let’s start at Hello.


So why am I here? I guess because many of my friends and family have blogs and I enjoy having that window into their lives. I coveted their ability to connect to strangers simply by painting a picture of their day to day lives… the fact that somehow… when expressed on a page….  even the simplest things can suddenly become so beautiful. I wanted my own window, my own picture.

I never really managed to start though, I guess because I didn’t know what to say… and I didn’t know that anyone would listen. However, somewhere along the way I realised…. it doesn’t really have to be about other people, now does it? Write it for YOU, if other people read it, that’s ok… but write it for YOU.

Sometimes I do just like to write, just to remember the things that happen to me, to crystallize my own thoughts, to muse, to ramble. The act of writing is cathartic… soothing…  But most importantly, it captures a moment for yourself. You can’t have a time machine… but you can have a diary. When I was young I only ever kept a diary for one year because I became too paranoid that someone might find it and read my terribly important preteen dramas to ever keep one again. But now, I treasure that stupid diary. That embarrassing diary full of inane nothing, the friendships, the break ups, the first love and the tantrums.

I treasure it because it is a perfect time capsule .

I remember that one year in which I kept a diary better than any other year in my youth…. not because it was an especially exciting year…. but simply because memories fade and that was the only year I had ever written down.

I guess this is something like that. A lot has happened to me in the past two years… last year in particular was the year that my whole life as I knew it stopped.

Because last year was the year I found out I had stage 4 cancer.

Everything after that was a new beginning. Nothing would ever be the same. I had to learn so many things. I had to become a new person.  A person who learned to live in the moment. Learned to fight. Learned what it meant to be brave.  I want and need to capture that. So that in years to come, if I am still here, I can look back and say, that’s what I did. I did that. I survived that. I don’t ever want to let myself forget.

Last year was when the old me died, this year was when the new me began.

And she is BROKEN but she is STRONG. She is SCARED but she is DETERMINED.

I want to celebrate her. Remember her.  So this will be where I tell her story. My story. My new diary in an electronic age.

This is mainly for me, but if it helps others who are going to be heading along a similar path than all the better. Cancer is a scary diagnosis and the journey won’t be easy. But you will learn things, you will grow, you will gain an amazing perspective on life that not many other people get. Life throws you challenges so you can learn from them. Cancer is one hell of a challenge. USE it. Even if all it does is show you how amazing you are just for getting through another surgery, another chemo or even just another day… that is enough. Everyone who fights this, you are already a hero, you should know it.

So anyway, this is it. Here I am. I am not sure how this will progress or even if it will progress…. but no journey is started without that first step.