Cancer strikes fear in most people's minds

Wednesday 7 November, 2012

I realise the word cancer strikes fear in most people's minds. It did in mine.

I am writing because I want to give due credit to Peter Mac Hospital for curing that fear.

At 39 I had 4 young children, the youngest being only 2, and a very busy life. Never could I have imagined that my life would be hit suddenly with a diagnosis of Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia.

I had no alarming symptoms other than feeling a bit tired, yet a bad back, which called for an MRI, detected abnormalities that led to my diagnosis.

From the moment the doctor told me of this condition at the hospital I felt calm, I felt safe, I felt that I had tremendous knowledge and support available. Although family and friends around me reacted dramatically Peter Mac doctors and nurses were my rock of practicality and assurance that all was in good hands.

I followed all treatment optimistically and thoroughly. I initially had my first bone biopsy (great nurses helped me through what could have been awful) then some chemotherapy before starting on Glivec (my miracle drug).

I did not need to spend time in hospital as all treatment could be done from home where I could remain an active mother to my children. I live with a few minor side effects, which are all tolerable, but most importantly I am here and will remain here thanks to clever research that came up with this life-saving drug.

Without that research, without the administration of effective care from Peter Mac I am painfully aware that my children could have lost their mother and my husband his wife and best friend.

I am blessed, I am aware of the privilege of living and being part of life every day and the care received at Peter Mac has been responsible for that miracle.

Even when cancers cruelly steal precious years from families, it does awaken us to the value of the time we have, an insight not always gained by those who have not been touched by it.

I am not sure who will read this but cancer does not need to strike the fear it did generations ago. Most of us can be survivors and that majority of survival is only set to increase as we support cancer research and treatments. Thank you for preserving my life, and increasing the value I place upon each day.  

If you or someone you know has leukaemia and would like information and support, call the Cancer Helpline on 13 11 20. See also our pages on leukaemia, its diagnosis and treatment. You may also like to contact the Leukaemia Foundation of Australia. 
Updated: 07 Nov, 2012