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When Cancer Puts Your Life On Hold

Life being on hold is something I’ve struggled with. We had so many plans for this year. With the new Chevy arriving we were going to do lots of short trips away with the caravan. When cancer became part of our journey, those plans went out the window.

Our daughter Kate, son in law Kev and granddaughters Layla and Hannah had just sold their house and packed up their lives into a caravan and headed off on a year-long journey around Australia. At first, I found myself alternating between envy and despair. This was supposed to be our year for travel, and I was also going to miss them so much.

As the weeks turned into months and before we knew it six months had passed since we first knew that Rod had a tumour. My frustration at not being able to plan anything was growing daily. We felt as though our lives were dictated by Rods appointments, the scans, the treatment and we were unable to move forward. I was so upset I wanted to sell everything that I thought represented our broken dreams. I told Rod I wanted to sell the new car, the caravan, the boats. Every time I looked out the window at the caravan just sitting on the verge, not getting used, it was slowly chipping away at my heart.

I was anxiously watching for Kate and Kev’s posts of all the fabulous places they were visiting. (If you are interested in following their journey they are on Instagram under The_Sandy_Tales)

What I started to find though, was instead of being jealous, I started to dream about the future. A future where we could go and visit all those lovely places we’ve never been. I began playing it in my mind like a movie, visualising us there and taking notes of the ones that really stood out the most.

Instead of selling everything up and thankfully Rod is less impulsive than I am, we started planning. We started to get work done to the Chev and the caravan. We were researching places we could go that aren’t too far away or too taxing on Rod. Short trips in between chemo treatment. Places where Rod can go to rest and recuperate. I’ve never driven with the caravan on the back, but it is something we have talked about me doing now to take the pressure off Rod. Slowly but surely my frustration eased, and hope returned along with my positive mindset.

While we wait for our first trip, what we are doing on the good days, is taking drives out into nature. We both love the bush setting where we live here in Western Australia and being out in nature is good for the soul.

These small moments are important for a few reasons:

  • It can help you to remember that today is a good day and feel gratitude for what you have together.

  • Being out in nature is therapeutic, helps regulate your nervous system, increase those feel-good hormones which then supports a healthy immune system.

  • It helps you to stay present and reduce that FOMO feeling knowing that we didn’t just sit at home today. Instead, we went on a small adventure and made a few more memories together.

  • Being out and about doing some exercise also helps Rod with the effects of chemotherapy and reduces the side effects.

Whilst at the moment it might feel like there’s no end in sight, it’s important to remember that eventually one way or another life has a way of stabilising and you find a way forward.

In the meantime, it’s also ok to acknowledge that you will have these moments of frustration, the key is not to sit with them too long. Be kind to yourself and remember that a cancer diagnosis is not an easy journey for either of you.

Much love ~ Christine


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