Welcome to Dear Melanoma
Hello there! My name is Emma Betts and I'd like to welcome you to my life and Dear Melanoma.
Dear Melanoma is an honest account of my 24 year old life with Stage 4 Melanoma, which is a terminal diagnosis. It's all about the hopeful and happy highs, the heartbreaking lows, and everything in-between. Yes, you'll probably cry...but I'll make you laugh, too. Pinkie promise!
Please join me. I want you to be part of my life. Celebrate the wins. Comfort me when the not-so-good happens.
Most importantly, I want you to join me to make a difference. I want you to practice sun safe behaviour. I want you to teach your children to be sun smart. I want you to be an advocate for increased access to treatment options. I want you to help me raise money for research.
I want your help.
No, actually, I NEED your help.
I'm in this for the long haul. Are you with me?
My latest blog posts...
Introducing my darling husband who most of you feel like you already know - Serge. Serge is guest blogger tonight! Woot! Woot! Get your tissues ready because I needed them. The reason why Serge is writing this is to help prepare him a little for his Smiling for Smiddy Challenge, riding from Brisbane to Townsville, and to also help you understand why he wants to raise money for cancer research. Details for donating will be at the bottom of this post.
This is my first time doing something like this. Sharing my story isn’t my strong point – that is Emma’s forte. I feature regularly on Emma’s blog and know that she writes about our relationship, often the saddest moments, but we both thought that it is time to share my perspective. It is not often that you hear the thoughts of the partner of a cancer patient - their role as carer, chief cheerleader, comedium, and ultimate cuddle buddy. Warning alert...a bloke may talk about his feelings.
A few weeks ago, in the midst of total physical and emotional exhaustion, I found myself binging on Netflix. I have no idea how I managed to live life before Netflix? What did I do with my free time?
I got through the most recent season of Pretty Little Liars and was really struggling to find something else to watch. I stumbled across Chasing Life, an American show about a 24 year old with cancer. I normally avoid shows and movies about cancer, but I was desperate and thought I could justify it as research for the blog. I was expecting to pull it apart and criticise how ridiculous it was or I was setting myself up for lots of crying. I was so wrong on both accounts.
This afternoon my husband and I had a good old fashioned cry – I was more a blubbering mess and Serge was more controlled with the number of tears let loose.
This afternoon we went to see 'Me Before You' at the cinema. Serge had no idea what he was in for, he simply heard the word ‘movies’ and decided that he must accompany me. However, I had planned to see 'Me Before You' since I heard that it was being made into a movie.
I had read the book by Jojo Moyes twice – before my cancer diagnosis and after. It is a bit of an epiphany writing that because it is quite right, my life is now defined by life before my terminal diagnosis and life since – life since living knowing that I am dying.
Today the Dear Melanoma Facebook Page reached the big 10 000!!! It would be silly to not recognise and celebrate this milestone.
Over the last two years Dear Melanoma has become a very important part of my life. The blog has given me purpose and something to concentrate on when the world around me felt like it was falling to pieces.
I was diagnosed with advanced cancer after returning from working in East Timor for a year – I was only 22. I had no workplace surrounding me that could support me and allow me to continue work. If I did want to work, I would have to go in being honest about everything that came along with having cancer, terminal cancer. Dear Melanoma has become my job. Even though I do not receive a salary, it has given me the structure of a job. It has given me the pride and the aspirations that come with a career. As the blog has grown, so has the roles that have come with the blog – speaker, advocate, published writer, fundraiser. The blog most definitely keeps me busy and limits the time I spend in the ‘woe is me’ frame of mind.
My birthday is less than a month away and I am already feeling the stress and emotions that have become as much part of my birthday as a delicious pavlova!
I have always loved birthdays and I have never been one to not celebrate, but the last few years, since being sick, birthdays have become increasingly difficult.
My 23rd birthday in 2014 we went big because it was my first birthday since my prognosis and the importance of celebrations, due to not knowing if it would be my last, was at the forefront of my mind as well as friends and family. I remember struggling on the day, but not as much as I did last year.