“At the end of February this year, our family life was turned upside down when our youngest was diagnosed with leukaemia. We were told he needed to be in Brisbane – 700 kms away from home, our friends and support network. This also resulted in our family being separated for more than 9 months.
During one of the hardest times we have had to face as a family, Childhood Cancer Support has not only provided us with accommodation for our entire stay in Brisbane, but also valuable support. What they have created here is a community unlike any other for all oncology families, providing practical support like shopping, hospital or airport runs, and also offering emotional and mental support through regular Coffee, Cake & Chat, recreational programs and activities for the kids, gym facilities and more.
CCS has become our home away from home. In 2014, we wanted to do something for CCS to thank them for what they have done for us during this time and the Bridge 2 Brisbane seemed like the best idea. We managed to raise a total of $620, which I am delighted about. In 2015 our goal will be so much bigger! So thankyou Childhood Cancer Support, for helping us when we needed it.
We have been home for 5 months now – sometimes it feels so much longer. Other times sometimes it feels like just yesterday we started the Maintenance phase of Anthony’s treatment. It feels surreal to be home and together as a family again, and being home has brought the things I mentioned above and more. Anthony has settled back into home and school life so well and enjoys being back with his buddies. We have been so proud of the way he has just slipped into this new life, and to be honest, quite amazed!
Being home has not been without it’s struggles though and I think this is a side many don’t talk about or choose not to see or acknowledge. But I would like to share some of the personal struggles I have experienced since returning home. Over the last few months so many people have said to me that we have settled back in so well and straight back into routine, and while it may look like it from the outside it sometimes feels as if it is nothing close to this. Yes Anthony is doing great, and it’s wonderful to be back home and all of us together again but it has been far from as easy as everyone sees it. At least not for me.
In fact, up until very recently I had not felt completely comfortable in our home. Strange right? But that’s the truth. While I now do truly feel home and a little more settled, some of the emotional and mental struggles have not stopped. I am still learning to control my new emotions and mental health. While I can’t speak for my wonderful husband (Anthony Snr), I don’t think I’m alone in this. I’ve seen my children (especially Emily) try to control emotions they do not quite understand. We’ve been at Anthony’s side while he’s tackled emotional and mental hurdles, especially around blood tests and treatment at our local hospital.
The main difference is that we are now determined to tackle these things together. Anthony and I as parents support the kids more than ever, and have a very different way we approach things with them and I hope we are teaching them along the way as well. Anthony and I are much stronger together and even though we have always supported each other, there is now a completely different level to our relationship.
Being home has had it’s ups and downs, happiness, sadness, excitement, frustration… so many moments of laughter, rawness, honesty and even some anger at times. Nevertheless, it’s a road we are travelling together, as a family. We learn, laugh and love with each passing day and really, we wouldn’t have it any other way.”