Two years ago, today.
Two years ago, on the 14th October, 2019, I had radical surgery to rid my body of cancer. My surgeon removed my bladder, prostate and appendix. I was replumbed with a stoma and an external urostomy bag. Obviously, the operation was successful. My sister, Janet, came to Bali to be with me at this time, and Komang, a friend of twenty years, took me to the hospital and stayed with me, 24/7, for the next eight days until I was discharged. Bayu, Dede and family, Sherry, and Geoff and Nola, (all wonderful friends) came to visit, although I said I preferred no visitors. They knew better than me and they were right. I loved every visit.
I’d undertaken 11 doses of the 16 doses of chemotherapy, before Covid 19 hit, when I chose to stop the chemo. The hospitals seemed too dangerous for a person with a compromised immune system. As Covid 19 raged, I bunkered down in my home, supported by Bayu, my partner, and began recovering. I’d like to believe, I always thought I’d survive, but that would be a lie. I hoped I would survive and pretended all was fine and would be okay, but doubts lurked. Time proved I was one of the lucky ones. I lived to fight another day.
I returned to Australia in April, 2020, and within a month of arriving had a barrage of tests that proved I was indeed, cancer free.
Recovery is more than just getting out of bed a facing each new day. It is a process of being grateful for a second chance and seeing what you’re now capable of. Over time I’ve learnt to change my own urostomy bag, discovered the limitations of living with adapted plumbing and found that I can do most things. At the age of 66, I’ve even returned to teaching a class of delightful Year 1 and 2 students at Badu Island in the Torres Strait. I worked in the Torres Strait decades ago, and returning has been a real sentimental journey.
My life has changed forever. I’ve been given that second chance and I’m not wasting it. I’ve made many lifestyle changes and save time each day to savor my life. I have a heap more adventures planned for the next 20 years and am planning to be around to achieve all of them. .Thank you to all of you. You have been with me on my journey and your positive words have encouraged me and given me strength. I hope we continue on this journey together.