I usually sleep well, but I am an early riser. Morning comes, a faint light, as dawn breaks. I stir, roll over and breathe out. I feel my chest tighten, anxiety.
“What is it? What am I worried about?”
Seconds pass before I fully emerge from sleep, in these moments the enormity of the challenge doesn’t seem to be overwhelming. Sometimes I rest in these moments – but then reality drives home –
“Oh, its cancer – where is it?”
My Brain – ah – that can’t be good…
Most days used to start the same way. But recently I have managed to keep tumour where it belongs – at the back of my mind. It’s not dominating my thoughts anymore and has largely faded into the background of our everyday life.
I finished a year of chemotherapy in November and I have finally started to feel a little more like myself, but I have also begun to understand that I won’t ever be the same as I was before the diagnosis – but maybe that is OK too.
Wrapping up 2019
As we end 2019 and start 2020, I wanted to reflect on the year, say some thank you’s and clear the slate for next year, but firstly, I want to acknowledge the incredible work being done by our fire fighters and emergency services teams throughout Australia.
As I write this, the country is facing an unprecedented number of fires, following a years long drought and crippling water shortages. We have witnessed incredible commitment volunteer CFA teams that are taking on such an unprecedented challenge and lost three volunteer CFA fire fighters who have died protecting the land and the community. Thankyou to everyone that is out there volunteering and supporting volunteers.
With all that’s going on, I feel almost contrite writing this update, but I still wanted to acknowledge the love and support that we have received this year.
Throughout 2019, I have begged, hustled and cornered family, friends, workmates, school mums and virtually anyone who has come in contact with me for more than 15 mins to help raise money for Brain Cancer Research. I even went as far as to ask my friend Katherine to create a design idea, had the design developed for t-shirts, coffee cups and waterbottles, developed 2 websites, started a small online shop and participated in 3 major running events. These efforts have resulted in total donations to Cure Brain Cancer of $12,577 and a further $6,128 for Carrie’s Beanies for Brain Cancer.
But, like anything worth doing, I didn’t do it alone.
I was joined on my various fundraising events by Daniel (my husband), Julia (my sister), Katherine, Prue, Dave and Evalyn (old school friends) Laura (my NU room mate from college) and Angela (new running buddy). All these activities would have been both meaningless and lonely without you – thankyou so much for your company and your friendship.
I have also been humbled by the response to our ongoing fundraising efforts – there are so many people who have contributed. Some extra special mentions to my friend Alice, who kick started my online store by doing all her Christmas shopping with me, Heather, who bought almost every colour of T-shirt available, an old school friend, Nick, who topped up my fundraising bank to meet my target and then told me “Its good to hit targets” 👊, my mother for assisting with the initial investment and to everyone that has donated or purchased our gear.
A big thank you to the team at Cure Brain Cancer who have allowed me to spend some time in their offices while I continue development of the Brain Cancer Diary, to the team at Carrie’s Beanies 4 Brain Cancer who have supported my online fundraising efforts and even enabled a short interview with The Project.
Alexander Dumas famously said “Friendship consists in forgetting what one gives and remembering what one receives”, and I have received well over my quota this year.
No news is good news – as far as we know there has been no major change to the tumour. I will have another series of scans in January (MRI, FET and PET) which will dictate our approach to all things health related. I don’t like to focus on this because I feel like its all a bit of a bust – I don’t understand the scans, the results of a single scan means nothing– they have to be compared to previous scans and read with blood results. So, as far as we can tell today – “no news is good news”.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank my Dad for making the trip to Sydney to accompany me on the jaunts to St George Hospital and to Royal North Shore for my scans and doctors’ appointments. These meetings can be stressful and often require that we take in a lot of unfamiliar information in a short period of time. I am always thankful for his company on these days.
Finally, thank you all for your love and support – I look forward to seeing you at 2020.
You have nailed it Cass. You have articulated very well what many people with brain cancer feel and their vision for the future.
Lots of love for a happy, healthy new year and new decade. Bring on the Roaring Twenties v2
I couldn’t have started that better Cassandra. I woke with all the same feelings and thoughts about what we deal with as well. And I am back into MRI’s and doctors rounds too. But like you no point moaning, just get on with it.
Thank you for touching base and reaching out last year. I look forward to chatting through the year.
p.s. I think you should write more, you do it well!