Robyn Mahoney, wife of Steve Mahoney, shares her experience of Steve's cancer journey over the past two years. Robyn and Steve are our 2020 Dry July ambassadors.
Anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer or those who are living with or are family and friends with a person with cancer friends realise that life becomes so different in so many many ways.
Treatment for head and neck cancers affects your face, eating, drinking and speech. For Steve this has resulted in changes to how he looks. And unlike other types of cancer, the scars and side effects of treatment are very visible and cannot be hidden.
Basic things like going on outings, attending functions, mowing the lawn, gardening, washing the car, etc takes its toll as being extremely tired is a huge part of living with cancer.
BUT, there are so many things that remain and will continually remain the same:
- The most wonderful family and the love and care that we have for each other.
- Our amazing supportive friends and the special times we spend with them.
- Our Port Douglas holidays, Melbourne Cup Day and Australia Day Gatherings, Good Friday Gatherings, Family Christmas Gatherings, AFL and NRL Grand Final Gatherings.
- Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday during NRL season watching the TV.
- Always booking an UBER or taxi because neither Steve nor I want to draw the short straw by driving.
- Steve wearing his Akubra and RM Williams.
- Bringing up the same stories and making them sound bigger and better than the last time we told the.
- Friends in Townsville calling Steve “Sid”.
- Our friends not from Townsville telling Steve that they really cannot understand him whether he has had a drink or not or whether he has had surgery or not.
The last 2 years have been tough but having so many things remaining the same brings comfort, wellbeing and security. The photo of Steve and I on our wedding day and the one that has recently been taken is different but the same – we look at each other with the same twinkly in our eyes, joined at the hip and enjoying every aspect of our lives.
It has been written: The time after treatment for cancer is often called ‘survivorship’. Getting used to life after cancer can take some time. Many people say cancer changes them and that they feel different, even if they look the same. People adjust in different ways, but people often feel that you and the things that are important to you have changed. This is sometimes described as your ‘new normal’.
We would like to think our new normal is much the same as our old normal too, living and loving life, and sharing the most precious time and having adventures with our family and friends.
We truly want to say thank you to everyone for the most wonderful love and support. We have also met so many incredible people over the last 2 years as well who; will remain in our hearts and minds forever. We accomplished 2 major things during Dryish July – 12 days without alcohol but more importantly reaching our target of $5,000.00 but going beyond that by our team raising $8,500.00 so far.
The Royal Melbourne Hospital will be keeping us up to date with how the funds are spent – the one priority as part of their campaign will establish a dedicated room to provide privacy and dignity to outpatients who are receiving treatment from head and neck cancer and have to deal with the challenges of tube feeding, stomach pegs.
It has certainly been a challenge writing about some of the ups and downs of the last 2 years – but reading the most wonderful comments of encouragement and love has inspired us never to give up and give 150% in the challenges that are still to be faced.
We would also like to share that happily; we are in Townsville for the next month as we were fortunate enough to be granted a border pass to be in Queensland to visit Steve’s family and spend time with friends and being in Far North Queensland.
We are glad we have already participated in Dryish July. At the moment we are doing our 14-day quarantine at the Grand Chancellor Hotel in Townsville. We were met by border force security at the airport and then escorted by the police to our hotel. The hotel is so amazing and pureeing Steve’s food and accommodating to all our needs. Security is on every floor manned by the local police and Red Cross ring check in along with Queensland Health to make sure we are okay. Steve’s family are delivering creature comforts like a sunlounge to have on our very tiny balcony (how wonderful we even have one), a car fridge to keep the champagne and beer cold, medical supplies, magazines and driving by to stop and wave from the street below. Our application had to be approved by the Queensland Chief Health Officer and be backed by our doctor. We are having telephone or video conferences with our medical team and feel thankful that we could make this trip. Spending 14 days in isolation is a very small price to pay to then spend some quality time with our Townsville family and friends.
Again, we thank everyone who has supported with Dryish July and look forward to post-COVID-19 gatherings and good luck to those who opted for Dry July – we take our hat off to you xxxx
You can still donate to Steve and Robyn's Dry July campaign at https://www.dryjuly.com/teams/team-mahoney