I haven’t been very active on my blog for a while. There’s been a lot going on in the world. 2020 was quite a year, we had bushfires, floods, the Black Lives Matter movement, a presidential election… and oh, did I mention COVID? So much happened in 2020 it’s almost hard to believe that it was real.
Australia had it’s first case of COVID in January 2020, and sadly the first COVID death on 1 March 2020. The outbreak was declared a pandemic by WHO on 11 March, 2020. The world and the way we lived, worked and played started to change.
Then in June I was diagnosed with brain cancer after a tumour was discovered in the right side of my brain
The tumor was a primary brain tumour meaning it hadn’t come from somewhere else (metastatic) in my body. Somehow I saw this as a positive – at least the cancer was only in my brain, and was extremely unlikely to spread. My medical team told me that if a brain tumor spreads or reoccurs it’s usually in the same area as the original tumour or within the CNS (Central Nervous System – mainly brain and spine).
No one who receives a cancer diagnosis is lucky but I felt extremely lucky to have had such a great medical team, and so much love and support from my family, friends, and work colleagues. I was also lucky that I had treatment options. My neurosurgeon removed my tumor seven days after it was discovered. He was able to get all of the tumour although he can only get what the eye can see. Brain cancer is insidious. It spreads with tentacle like cells that you can’t see, even with imaging (MRI etc.), and these buggers like to grow back. So to be sure we got everything, including any cells that may have been left behind, I underwent radiation then chemotherapy – all during COVID.
I finished treatment earlier this year and my prognosis is good. Unfortunately for some the outcome is not so favourable.
After my personal journey I want to raise awareness about this terrible disease and how we can all help to find better treatments and eventually a cure. The sad truth is brain cancer survival rates are low and have hardly changed in 30 years despite significant increases in survival for Australians diagnosed with other types of cancers.
Over the years I have supported many cancer charities as I feel it’s so important to raise funding for medical research in the hope we can find breakthrough treatments and cures. I continue to support these causes, however after my personal experience I am extremely passionate about raising awareness and funding for brain cancer research. During my radiation treatment in 2020 I undertook my first Walk4BrainCancer, and this year I am doing it again. The Walk4BrainCancer takes place on 26 Sept 2021, and you can walk as part of a team or by yourself. Last year the walk went virtual giving people the opportunity to participate safely during COVID.
Around 1,896 people are diagnosed with brain cancer in Australia annually and approximately 1,528 die from the disease every year.Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2021. Cancer data in Australia. Cat. no. CAN 122. Canberra: AIHW.
The Walk4BrainCancer is a great way to help raise vital funds to help find treatments and hopefully a cure!
If you would like to find out more about the Walk4BrainCancer visit: walk4braincancer.com.au
For more information on how you can get help increase brain cancer survival and improve quality of life for people impacted by this disease visit Cure Brain Cancer Foundation.