Remember how I described our wedding day as perfect? It was. In every way. But in the week leading up to the event I was starting to worry about how I was going to last. I’d begun to notice some new symptoms that had me troubled and my normal level of fatigue seemed to have worsened. However, on the day itself, I woke with excitement and seemingly boundless energy that kept me going all day and into the night. I couldn’t believe it. I mean, the steroids helped, let’s be honest. But love got me there.

Unfortunately, the day after the wedding, Alan kicked back. HARD. Nausea, a very public and projectile vomit at our recovery event, tears of exhaustion, fatigue, a distended and sore belly, dark brown urine despite trying my best to hydrate…it was all happening.

A few days on and I wasn’t feeling better. A quick google of what to expect during liver failure had me ticking all kind of boxes and I slowly walked towards Magro to let him know that I thought my cancer was spreading. I was getting sicker. 

First thing the next morning I called Dr Duenna, my oncologist, and she asked me to present immediately to emergency. Scans, bloods and a few other tests confirmed what we had both been thinking. Alan had finally broken loose of his compound. My cancer had begun to spread throughout my abdomen. It was in the fluid that was building around my organs and most likely on the surfaces of the organs themselves.

And then came the very difficult conversation. 

Chemotherapy and other possible treatments would do nothing to improve my situation and could only add to my discomfort, even leading to toxicity. Future interventions would be aimed at supporting me to live with as much quality of life as possible. We officially entered the palliative care phase of my illness.

Now, look. I know palliative care has a bad rep. A lot of you are thinking I’m two minutes away from dying in a hospice bed. And you’d be forgiven for thinking that because for a long time, that’s exactly what palliative care seemed to be. So many people weren’t admitted until the last minute when it was all a sliding shitshow of death and dying.

But I have been researching and exploring this outcome for a long time now and what I have learned is that palliative care is quite different these days. It is about supporting people with many different types of life-limiting conditions to live as well as possible in the time they have left. Through symptom control and pain relief, patients can go about their lives for much longer than was once possible. This is partly due to early intervention and home-based care.

But it’s also me saying no. No more chemo. No more trauma. No more relentless cycling through the process of dread and recovery. It’s my time now to live and relax and enjoy my new married life, precious time with family and close friends and time for me to process my life and its legacy. 

Cancer is not a fight. It’s not a fucking journey. It’s an awful experience with which one has no choice but to reckon. And I don’t want to reckon with cancer anymore. I want to play, to love, to live. I don’t know how much time I have left, but I will live it the best I can. With help from people who know what they are doing. I trust the new team. And I trust myself that I have got this next bit…as messy as it will get and as scared as I may become. My body, brain and heart are doing what they need to like they always have. Just keep living.

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17 thoughts on “Palliative but let’s rethink it…

  1. Nicole Bartletr says:

    Your words amaze me 🖤🖤 and fill my eyes with tears 💔😪 never met anyone quite like you. From the 1st day we met around 30 odd years ago, to the woman i saw rocking it out like a boss to Olivia Newton-John i truly struggle to find you any different. Even though we only recently started chatting thru SM you are still goofy, hilarous and witty as i remember. Im so glad that we have had a brief moment in time to connect again. My only regret is that we didnt do it sooner. I hope the peace you have found stays with you, and the sun always shines down on you 🤍🤍🤍🤍

  2. One again you manage to articulate things with such candour and bravery and an ability to just be present. Wishing you and that fabulous man of yours some wonderful time together full of joy bouncing around your love bubble. Get some big blue sky sunshine into your soul today. Love and hugs and all that / Kirsten

  3. Every post you write makes me think and reflect. You are absolutely correct in having the attitude that you do, to live as best you can in the time you have. We should all be doing that. All the time. I already know that you will make the most of whatever you have left, both time and energy. Enjoy your married life and all the adventures big or small you find yourself on. As ever I love you. Xx

  4. Enjoy every moment Gibbo 🙂 Please promise, no more attempts at vacuuming! Continue to live, laugh and love fully as you do so well. Our hearts are all hurting for you, but you are so brave, and positive that we can all take a big leaf from your amazing book. XX

  5. Kristie, you write so beautifully. What a gift. I’m thinking of you on the daily.
    Here’s to play, love & life. You’ve reminded me that saying no, is also kinda saying yes. X

  6. Huge hugs and love for you Kristie 🥰 You are incredible and unbelievably tough! Congratulations on your beautiful wedding! Loved seeing the photos on insta 😘

  7. Judith gibson says:

    Dear Kristy, Helen, Garry and I send you our love. And thanks so much for your blog – it’s so insightful. Love from Judith (Gibson)

  8. Thank you so much for your words. We are thinking of you both. Enjoy your honeymoon and I hope you can snorkel the reef at some stage.

  9. And just like everything you’ve ever done – you’ll give it all you’ve got. You wedding pics were gorgeous btw. Congrats.

  10. Irene Bartlett says:

    Such beautiful words from one incredible woman. Your words have made me rethink this journey of life. So much love sent to you and all the family as you teach us all about living. Thank you beautiful Kristy for the absolute pleasure of meeting you all so many years ago up in shoal bay. Xxx

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