Be a victim or be victorious
My family and I arrived in Australia from the UK, six years ago. My son, Liam was 18 months old at the time, with a cheeky smile and bright blue eyes; the apple of his parent’s eyes. My story took a huge down turn in November 2014, when Liam had a fall at daycare and fractured his skull – a parent’s worst nightmare. He now has an acquired brain injury and requires extra support and therapy.
We got through this and things were back on track again, but a different track. One evening in February 2016, I was driving to work, as I worked nights as a nurse. I was hit from behind at red lights and I sustained many injuries to my spine and head and now have thoracic outlet syndrome. It had devastating effects again on my family and I have been unable to work since.
I thought things could not get any worse, until I had severe indigestion the week before Christmas 2016. The pain and burning sensation increased and continued for five days with a fever. Being a nurse, I thought I had an infected gall bladder, little did I know the car crash had masked a lot of my symptoms – lower back pain and right hip aching all the time, it was not just an injury, as I had thought.
On December 17, 2016, I was diagnosed with Stage 4 neuroendocrine pancreatic cancer. I cried for two days solid and denied this was happening to me and my family. I was discharged from hospital and told to enjoy Christmas and be ready for January 2017, as all investigations would be back and treatment would commence.
A memory at this time, I will never forget was wrapping my boys Christmas presents through tears when suddenly I realised; cancer will never control or define me, I will control and beat this cancer.
A calmness came over me, an urge to fight and help others in my situation. I started to research and the results were catastrophic. Pancreatic cancer is the deadliest cancer in the world. The least funded for research and a survival rate of 6%, which has not changed significantly in 40 years.
I truly believe at this time, I had a choice; be a victim or be victorious. If you let pancreatic cancer consume your mind, you have lost the fight before it’s started. I intend to fight and support Pancare and to raise funds and awareness and to support other sufferers to give them hope and strength to fight this illness and let them know, you are not alone.
Julie shaved her head in January as part of a fundraising event and has raised over $2000 for Pancare.
You can support Julie by visiting give.everydayhero.com/au/julie-s-pancreatic-cancer-page-just-in-case