I’m Jill Mills and I’ve just joined Cancer Council NSW’s YA Survivorship Team, exploring the experiences and helping to identify and meet the needs of young adults surviving cancer.
For me personally survivorship has many meanings.
When I was 30 my husband passed away after being diagnosed with lung cancer just 9 months before; we had a 3 month old, a 3 year old and 3 stepsons (from his previous marriage, they were in their late teens). It was a rough time and I remember very well the struggles we all had personally and as a family, before and after his death.
Even though that was 21 years ago the personal experience seems to be universal, even with the advances in cancer treatment and the amount of support available. I was lucky, I had family around me giving support, love and financial help, but there were many times then and now that I felt and feel alone.
As a partner, I often felt forgotten in the whole process. After his death new friends I met didn’t seem to want to talk about my experience and I didn’t feel strong enough to ask why. It was a confusing time. It seemed too hard to look into the future, or at life as a single mother?? With 5 boys in my life. I had actually survived cancer, but not in the traditional sense and I felt for a long time that I had nobody to share my feelings with.
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.