Our connection with cancer began in March 2009, when my wife Jenny was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. This was a big shock to us as we have pretty much breezed through life.
This diagnosis introduced us to a new world of hospitals, many tests, and chemotherapy and radiation treatment. I admire the way that Jenny handled the situation. Her attitude from the beginning was very positive and one of not playing the victim and concentrating on getting over it. Not once did she say “why me?”
People with a life threatening disease go through all kinds of emotions and not all cases are the same, but Jenny was so strong. Yes there was the odd teary, but it never lasted. She often remarked to people that chemo was her friend as it was attacking her disease.
As a spouse of a cancer survivor, I went through my own set of emotions which were different to what Jenny experienced. To me, I had to be strong for her and support her through this time.
In December 2009, I was also diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. This time I was the patient which presented a different set of emotions and experiences. My Lymphoma was slow growing and therefore did not require treatment until April 2011.
By this time Jenny was going well, she was in partial remission and back to her old self.
Eventually I started to experience symptoms of the disease and in April 2011 I began chemo. This lasted about 6 months and my main reactions to chemo were extreme exhaustion and some nausea.
In September 2011 (the day I completed my chemo), we received a phone call that our eldest daughter was in a coma. She had suffered a severe brain bleed and was not expected to survive, but she proved (by the grace of God) that the doctors aren’t always right. She spent 3 months in hospital and is now home with us recovering.
Over the course of this journey many people have asked me, “How have we coped?” I can only say that it is by the grace and power of God.
At this time, through many ups and downs it is God’s love, mercy and strength that is keeping us going. The things that we are experiencing and learning about God’s love for us is proving without a doubt that he exists and that the atheists and sceptics are wrong.
Until next time
Cancer Council NSW would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work.We would also like to pay respect to elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal people.