What is next for Dear Melanoma? Planning for the immediate future

Here we are again – I find myself sitting in the radiology department at the PA hospital hungry, having fasted all day, and drinking contrast disguised as ‘delicious’ (a very big hint of sarcasm) lemon cordial, all of this for a 10 minute CT scan. A scan that will hopefully tell us that treatment is still working and those little suckers of tumours riddling my body are shrinking.

It looks like the hospital is running behind and I may be sitting here awhile, so what better way to spend my time than writing a blog.

This scan could very well decide my future. Unlike previous treatments, I am feeling very unfazed and not stressed. So, I am not going to write a blog fearing the future and its uncertainty, instead I am going to write about what is next in the world of Emma and Dear Melanoma.

Serge and I on our most recent adventure - back to reality now!

The last 18 months I feel like I have been going nonstop. Serge and I were married and we have done a fair amount of travel! I started Dear Melanoma, which keeps me very busy – Serge always makes fun of me and tells me to stop talking to my imaginary friends (that is all of you that follow the blog!), but I try to explain to him that I treat Dear Melanoma like a job, a job that I love and which brings great purpose to my days. On top of this, we have planned fundraising events, including the most recent cocktail party ‘Through the Looking Glass’, and with your help, in the last year we have raised over $70,000 for the Melanoma Institute Australia.


What is next? To be honest, I have no idea!

On a personal front, Serge and I are on a very difficult task of finding our forever home. We are currently living in a tiny one bedroom unit that my parents own – our garden is bigger than our unit, which explains just how small it is!!! I am going completely nuts. We moved into the unit in November 2013 when Serge moved from the Gold Coast. This unit was to be temporary, for only months – Serge and I would need to move back with mum and dad as my condition deteriorated. Serge would return to our little unit after I passed away. IT IS 16 MONTHS LATER AND I AM STILL HERE LIVING IN A HOUSE WITH NO PANTRY AND A KITCHEN THAT I CAN’T DO THE HOKEY POKEY IN!

So, that is where Serge and I are at – mission find somewhere to live. All the real estate agents like to ask us if we are wanting extra space to start a family (at this point I start an elaborate lie), but what we are looking for is unique. Cancer, and further more, terminal cancer shapes our criteria. We need a place now (ASAP, time is precious… lets be honest!) that is close to my parents, close to the hospital and close to the community of support that I have been surrounded with my whole life. But, it also has to be a place that Serge can manage on his own. What happens when I am not here? My hope is that we would find a place that Serge would want to stay. Wish us luck!

Now to my Dear Melanoma plans. I need your help and guidance to decide!

Over the last few months with planning the fundraiser, I have not had time to do much writing for the blog and I have really missed it. Although it is sometimes difficult writing about certain topics and I end up spending a lot of time crying over my laptop, I get a lot of strength from it. I love the feeling I have when I see how many people have read the post. I love hearing from different people and how they have connected and related to the blog. I feel like I am doing something powerful and making a difference. So, I am going to get back into blogging and dedicate more time to writing. What do you want to hear? What are your favourite blog posts to date?

Through the Looking Glass was great success, now for something new!

I want to have a break from fundraising. Although I continue to see the great need for funding for research, I do not find event planning and fundraising overly fun… it is too stressful and full on!

So, what am I going to do instead?

As I have spoken about before, I need purpose in my life – I no longer have work or study. Before cancer, I was passionate about international development. I was passionate about educating people at home about the challenges faced by people living in developing countries. I was passionate about helping those in need in ways that were sustainable. I was passionate about campaigning and advocacy.

What I have realised that all these passions still remain; I have just translated them to melanoma. I am passionate about educating people, especially young women, about the dangers of sun exposure and the principles of prevention and early detection.  I am passionate about campaigning and advocating for greater access to treatments. And, I have the skill set to do these things.

So, on top of concentrating on my blog, I am going to spend the next little while brainstorming what I can do around education, campaigning and advocacy work. I will look into how I can connect with other organisations and initiatives, or if there is a gap, hopefully I can fill it.

I want you all on this journey. I want your input, your feedback, and of course, your continual support.