Kerry's Story

My life prior 2018 was great, not a care in the world. I played golf seriously at my Club, Wantima Country Golf Club, achieved 2nd dan in Kansai Karate, danced Rock n Roll twice a week and lindy hop swing twice a week. Every weekend I was out on the golf course and dancing in the evenings. Life was good. My Mum returned to New Zealand in 2017 for Xmas and not long after arriving became ill and was diagnosed with liver cancer. I went home to visit, Mum passed away while I was there at her bedside in February 2018. 

In March 2018, three of my friends travelled to New Zealand for the Beach Hop Event held in Whangamata. On my second day in NZ, I woke up and dropped to the floor and struggled to stand. My left side was so weak. As time went by, I had some imbalance issues but later things settled down. We drove to Whangamata and on my arrival, things were worse with my balance. I visited a doctor who put it down to inner ear imbalance and gave me pills. Three days later I was worse, falling a lot, needing assistance to get around. During this period, I was asking Doctor Google which turned out I needed to see a Physio for exercises to balance my left side. I returned back to the clinic for a referral and saw another doctor who referred me to Thames Hospital, a 2-hour drive. 

My friend drove and stayed with me while I had tests. Late in the evening, I was given the diagnosis, I have a tumour in my brain and was sent to Hamilton Hospital for an MRI. This was the saddest day of my life, I cried, my friend cried. How is it possible? I am young and fit. In reality, anyone can get cancer. My holiday was short, mostly spent in the Hospital and a few days with my Sister, getting ready to fly back to Brisbane, straight to Royal Brisbane Hospital. I was met with the Neurosurgeon, had another MRI and then a biopsy followed. I have the worst tumour in the worst place, a Glioblastoma. A meeting was called with my family and doctors on which way to go forward. Surgery to remove it or quality of life. There were no guarantees with the surgery being a success, it could be done but one wrong mistake, I would be a vegetable. Quality of life, I had 14 months and needed to get everything in order. Second saddest day in my life. 

I had radiation and chemotherapy, changed my eating habits to good eating, no meat, chicken, fresh food only, no processed food and importantly no sugar. I also take safe soda with a number of natural pills, all started early after my diagnosis. I have great support from my family and friends, my youngest Niece became my full-time carer and this was a blessing. My partner took care of me in the evenings and my daughter and son took care of me on the weekends. I had one special friend who did a lot of research and passed it onto me. I read a lot. Two of my good friends refitted my bathroom to fit a wheelchair. My golfing friend built ramps and another friend gave me her granny flat while the bathroom was being renovated. I was discharged from Hospital at the end of March 2018, however, returned early April 2018 as I had lost my balance again. Another MRI was done, and it showed the tumour had grown in size. I remained in Hospital for a few more weeks, discharged again, leaving in a wheelchair. I would like to reiterate during this time in Hospital and at home, I would exercise, start off small, then progress to small weights. In time, I was then using a walker by July 2018 for two months. I started driving in September 2018, back at work October 2018 part time and fulltime August 2019. Early 2019, I was lucky to be involved in a three-month cannabis trial. I can say my next MRI after the trial, the tumour had shrunk. I was independent by 15 October 2019. 

During the time of my illness, my body had wasted away, and I became very thin despite keeping up with exercising. I learnt to dance again but not like I used to. During 2019, my partner and I did a lot of camping with good friends, slowly getting better at dancing, then the Pandemic arrived in 2020 with lock downs and staying in your area. I walked a lot and then I purchased an electric bike and started cycling around the neighbourhood. My partner left me early October 2020 but that has not interfered in my life. I still cycle and in 30-60 km events, eg: MS Fund Ride, raising money for people living with MS; Tour de Brissie, raising money for life changing medical research for organ transplants; Jimboomba Rotary Club Ride, raising funds to support mental health; Ipswich 100 Charity Bike Ride, raising funds for Ipswich Hospital Foundation; HELP Disability Support Services and Ipswich City State Emergency Unit to name a few. During this period, I also took up Aqua Aerobics twice a week. Now that we are back to normal, I have done a number of travels, cycling and going to dance events. Most evenings, I practise my dancing and now have joined an exceptional dance group, Swing Patrol Brisbane. Today I am stronger with a slight limp, put on weight, looking much healthier. On 18 March 2023, it will be five years living with my tumour and I am striving to live a lot longer. I would like to end with "Life is short, you do not know what is around the corner so make the most of each day!"


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