A year of normality


As I sit on Facebook and read everyone’s reflections on 2015 and hopes for 2016, I find myself doing the same.

For me, 2015 marked a return to normality.

2014 was so up in the air for Serge and I. 2014 was amazing because we got married and we also travelled, but everything was overshadowed by my terminal prognosis, the reality of not responding to my initial treatment, and being told at the beginning of the year that I only had 3 months to live. Serge and I very much lived in the moment and spent as much time together as possible with Serge stopping work to make this happen.

I have written before, living in the moment is exhausting! I did not want to plan my life around the fear of dying. I did not want the feeling that every time I did something I was doing it because I was dying – hence, my struggle with the concept of a bucket list.

This year was the year to change how we were living. We went into 2015 with the confidence that the clinical trial, Keytruda, was working. We had the gift of time. We no longer had the fear that everything would end in a matter of months.

Normality was what I craved for 2015. Serge returned to work part time so we still had half the week together. I started working one day a week at a gift shop. I continued with the blog, but embraced that it was more than a little blog and a powerful tool to create awareness and funds for melanoma. I took on the big task of organising Through the Looking Glass, a cocktail party that raised over $36 000 for Melanoma Institute Australia. I have enjoyed speaking at a number of events and schools. Serge and I took the big step and bought our own apartment. We celebrated our first year of marriage in Hawaii. And most recently, I have decided to start my own business‘Love, Emma’ that will be launched in 2016.

Living this ‘normal’ life has made dealing with my prognosis easier. Having responsibilities and goals made me get out of bed, and if they didn’t Ralph surely did! Melanoma, and my terminal prognosis, still impacts my everyday life. There is not a day that goes by where I am not reminded of my reality, where I don’t get jealous of the people around me and what I can’t have, or when I am not upset. Luckily, these are fleeting moments in my day.

I owe a lot to you, my Dear Melanoma community! Instagram has jumped to over 1250 followers and Facebook over 6000. Wow! You, my imaginary friends (Serge’s name for you all), give me so much strength everyday. Thank you for continuing to plod along with me and experience the highs, the lows and everything in-between. Sorry for making you cry with me, but I hope you all have lots of giggles along the way.

What am I most happy about this New Year’s Eve? I am happy to be alive.

What do I hope I achieved this year? I hope that I made a difference in at least one person’s life.

I am going into 2016 with an element of uncertainty. I have been on my new treatment for less than a month and we do not know if it is working. But, 2016 is going to be an incredibly busy and exciting year for me when it comes to Dear Melanoma and Love, Emma. On top of that, I hope Serge and I can travel more and even renew our vows! Who is up for a Dear Melanoma wedding?!?!

Most of all, I hope to see 2017.

Happy New Year! Be kind to yourself, love hard, and treasure those around you!