I am Kathleen with a "K" never a "C"
I love to workout, paint, being smiley and laughing like I can no longer breathe, shop for art supplies..yes I am addicted to art supplies like a woman is to shoes and I love exploring new places.
I am an artist and a qualified teacher aide, I am 24 with a mum, 2 sisters, a future brother in law, and so many more aunties, uncles and cousins it would be too long to read, not to forget I have a gorgeous 7 year old ruby king Charles cavalier named Noah.
Which leads me to my life with cancer.
When I was 3 and my sisters were 5 and 1 my dad died at 38 years old passed sadly from acute myeloid leukaemia with complications from a heart attack, I have always known my life with just my mum and my sisters till I was I was told at 12 that my dad wasn't on a lifelong holiday he actually died. When I was 13, I snuck around and I found out more about my dad's death going to bed that night finding out...shaking like a leaf blaming myself and wondering why it had to be my dad? He was such a great man, a great husband, a great friend, a great son, a great teacher and so much more to many other people that I may never know. My dad didn't deserve to get cancer he was law abiding, didn't get thrown into jail, didn't upset or hurt anyone he knew he was a devoting husband and the most gentlest kindest dad that people spoke about..so I asked why is cancer a bitch for taking away great people who didn't deserve to be taken away so soon?
When I was 16, I had to choose a work experience placement and decided to do it with my godfather/uncle Anthony, it was strange since he was a travelling artist so when my dad died till 16 I didn't see him much, as soon as I started work experience we clicked and bonded, he taught me so much about art and exposed me to new things I wouldn't of tried like my first tasting of peppermint tea and what it takes to maintain a studio. On my 16th birthday, my uncle said he had a surprise and gave me the best present ever he took me to the Picasso show ever since he has brought me along to Dali show and to many of his art festivals and performances. After work experience, I told my mum it was one of the bestest experiences in my life, she there in asked my uncle to continue being in my life in which he has ever since.
Me and my uncle we were and are like "frick" and "frack" we are very close and when we bicker it affects the whole family and will last for 20 minutes before me or him text each other saying "sorry love you" that's us we don't fight for long and when we do 20 minutes later we forgive and forget. He opened an art gallery we had two group art shows, charity art projects together, we went to my cousin's comedy show where my uncle introduced me to Ethiopian food. I asked "Why do you want to keep on showing me these new, weird experiences? and he said "Because I need you to see what was also out there then what you knew, to be ambitious to try new things" he explained, it made me apperciate his ideas, love him so much, and made me smile. We always laughed, cried, fought, embarrassed each other but at the end of the day loved each other.
A couple of months ago, I found out my grandad had pancreatic cancer with my cousin by my side shaking and crying it was a challenging real life situation, it was devastating since my grandad was my everything and thought strength can pull him though to my realisation that only strength can only go as far, he reassured us it was age and it was okay as he led a happy life..thankfully my grandad is in remission at home and has gone back to his cheeky Irish ways of drinking red wine, whiskey and the odd Irish coffee. A couple of weeks later, I found out that my uncle who was my everything, my best friend, my godfather, my person who I turned to for everything who was so honest who told me most things from the gate had myelodysplastic syndrome(MDS) it was truly heart-breaking but I remained optimistic.
One time he apologised for me seeing his bruised arms from the blood transfusions, he was soooo embarrassed because he wanted me to continue being my cheeky, happy, smiley self as soon as I saw what I saw, I was understanding and couldn't let my emotions get the best of me, but deep down it made me sad and stressed seeing someone you loved having bruised arms the first thing I said was "I wished it was me bug, that had the bruised arms" my uncle replied, "Well if it was you with the bruised arms I'd be sad myself". When I saw the physical aspects to cancer, I was wordless, numb and just okay I was so caught up with being sympathetic that silence became a comforting tool though a journey of anger, anxiety, sadness and grief. I told my uncle it is what it is and it's not your fault for me seeing the physical aspects to cancer. He apologised for also the possibility of not being around in my life it made me cry, but also it made me feel somber because somehow I have become blinded to life without my uncle, he then sadly explained a promise with my dad before my dad passed to be always around for me as my godfather, my answer was to him was that no matter what happens or will happen you withheld your promise, you've succeeded you have been there and will always be there for me and for that alone I, my family and my dad would be sooooo proud of you.
It was just recently that my uncle my dad's brother got diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia.
With much love to those affected with cancer no matter who you are, if there's one thing I learnt it's okay to grieve it's reality and to be brave and positive as much as you can.
Lots of love
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.