It was two years ago that my cancer diagnosis became public knowledge. I had not kept my cancer diagnosis secret and not hidden the fact that I had rushed home from East Timor to have surgery in August 2013, but I hadn’t openly spoken about my terminal prognosis received in October of that year and my three month prognosis that I was given in January 2014. Beyond my family and closest of friends, I wasn’t ready to talk openly. I wasn’t prepared to be bombarded with a rush of phone calls and texts from acquaintances that wanted to catch up and say their goodbyes. All I could focus on was making sure that I was well enough for our wedding and to meet my new nephew.
This all changed when my dear friend Rebecca Sparrow who I had only known for a short time asked my permission to write about me in March 2014.
Rebecca Sparrow wrote an article for Mamamia about the privilege of growing older and her babysitter (me!) that was 22 and had terminal cancer and the reality that chances are I won’t have the privilege of growing old and seeing the affects of gravity.
When this article went live, I could no longer hide. Everyone knew EVERYTHING.
At this point, Dear Melanoma, was merely an idea floating around my mind that would materialise a few months later.
Dear Melanoma was first and foremost a therapeutic tool for me. I needed somewhere to express what I was feeling because I couldn’t communicate face-to-face the majority of the time. It was my safe place and continues to be.
But it has become so much more. I never imagined the blog to be as popular as it is and with this I have the power to make a real impact. I am able to use it as a platform to educate, raise awareness, advocate, and fundraise. Although, it is sometimes tiring, I truly love that this blog has become somewhat of a job.
Dear Melanoma is now a community of support. I am lucky. I don’t just have a loving husband, family and friends supporting me – I have you! I feel that I, literally, have thousands of people holding their breath for me when I go in to have scans. I know that I have a community that cries with me, as well as celebrates. With my extremely morbid sense of humour, I often joke to Serge that he better organise a huge venue for my funeral because it will be packed!
I thank you from the bottom of my heart for that.
What I never expected, nor sought, was the overwhelming generosity of people and businesses.
The ongoing support from Robin, Terry and Bob on 97.3 FM, their willingness to always promote events and hearing the genuine joy in their voices every time we speak about me still being here two years on.
The support I receive from Mamamia is two fold, they support my writing by asking to share my blog posts or write posts specifically for them, but on top of this, I am able to go to them and ask them to share a post that will help promote important events and dates.
The beautiful relationships I have formed with amazing women that know the importance of sun smart fashion.
And of course, where would I be without Rebecca Sparrow and Sarah Wills.
I have always been completely honest on my blog in that I am gifted some pretty amazing products and experiences from complete strangers and businesses.
There are some amazingly kind people in this world.
I can’t list every example of kindness, because it would be the longest post EVER! But I do want to write about our wedding anniversary.
As many of you know, Serge and I celebrated our wedding anniversary on 16 March. As I said above, two years ago our biggest fear was that I would not be alive for our wedding and in many ways our wedding was bittersweet – many people came to our wedding expecting it would be the last time they would see me.
Here we are celebrating our second wedding anniversary!!
With a crazy schedule around that date with treatment, Melanoma March, and the upcoming Through the Looking Glass event, it was just not possible to plan an overseas holiday to celebrate – that would have to wait. Instead, I asked on the blog a month or so ago for you to share your favourite romantic holiday destinations around Brisbane so that Serge and I could go away for the night.
One of you suggested Spicers Peak Lodge, a destination that I had always dreamed of, but it just wasn’t in our price range. I woke up the next day to Spicers Peak Lodge offering Serge and I a night’s accommodation to celebrate our anniversary. Wow!
It was such a generous gift, but I now know that someone that follows Dear Melanoma actually sent them an email telling them about me. Hearing this brought a tear to my eyes. Thank you!
Serge and I had such a magical night and it was exactly what we needed. We hadn’t expected that I would be at the hospital the next day planning the next round of radiation – this night away couldn’t have come at a better time.
Spicers Peak Lodge gave me a moment to breathe. Thank you to Helen and Chloe from Spicers.
Like I said, I am truly grateful to not only have each other, our family and friends, but the Dear Melanoma community.
Although I may not have time to reply to every comment or message, know that I read every single one. Thank you to those that come and say hello to me if they see me. Thank you for making my life that little bit easier.
Tickets are now on sale for Through the Looking Glass at Brisbane Tickets.
Don't miss out on tickets to an amazing charity night full of food, drinks and dance!