When you get ill you feel like the whole world caves in, but it’s times like these when you need some support from your family, friends and the community. I got a lot of support when I was at my lowest, and that’s why I’m such a big supporter of community organisations now.
When I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, already in the most serious stage, I remember wondering how would I survive? It was pretty scary, but I made the decision to be very strong and determined and to use what was available to me in the medical field.
Within three week of the diagnosis I was in hospital undergoing surgery – that’s the kind of person I am, I just action it. Keyhole surgery didn’t exist then and I was out of action for three months. My whole world caved in and I was scared for my sons, then teenagers, who were uncertain about what was happening to their mother.
In hard times it’s okay to need a bit of support. Today there are so many voluntary organisations that can help provide so many different types of assistance, even if it’s just someone to talk to.
I’m a big supporter of Gold Coast Hospital Foundation, a local not for profit that delivers better health outcomes to patients and families receiving care at Gold Coast University Hospital, Robina Hospital and more than 40 health and medical facilities across the Gold Coast. Each year they help more than 95,000 locals overcome distress and medical hardship, through vital support services.
Some people become introverts in hard times, they might be embarrassed of the illness, or difficulty, in their life. At those times, it’s not healthy to hide, you need to talk to someone. Once you open up, even in the smallest way, you’d be surprised how many people are also going through tough times. There may be people close to you that want to help. It’s good to let them into your circle, so they know how you’re going. Just having someone ask ‘are you OK’ can be very meaningful and powerful.
For me meditation was also good, it was a way to be transformed to another place. I found that it helped with the sorrow and burden I felt at that time. I needed a place to escape.
While I’ve been well for a while now, my diagnosis never really went away. It’s always in the back of my mind and I never know if cancer will be back in my life.
The whole experience has changed me, I look at people differently now and it’s more about what I can give and how I can be more understanding rather than being so gung-ho. While I love my work, and it can engulf me (in that I tend to hide there and put up barriers as protection), I also innately see that there is more to life than just work and there’s a real side of me that wants to make a difference in people’s lives.
Lucy is a sponsor for this weekend’s Gold Coast Hospital Foundation Hospital Heroes Ball.