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In 2013 life seemed almost perfect.

I was and am still married to my best friend. I had a four-year-old son and a two-year-old daughter. I had started my Bachelor of Education to become a primary school teacher that had been my dream for almost 20 years and I was in great physical health, well so I thought.

In July of that year I noticed my first symptoms, discoloured stools, very dark circles under my eyes and a little fatigue. When I went to the GP he felt my tummy and found a lump. He diagnosed me with severe constipation and sent me home with a gentle laxative. Over the next month he did this another two times until one day in late August I was getting our kids ready for preschool when I doubled over in pain. My husband took me to emergency, they nearly sent me home but one doctor stopped me and said “I’d like to admit you under the gastroenterologist for further testing, 35 year olds don’t get severe constipation”.

After a CT scan and colonoscopy, three days later I was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma of the colon – bowel cancer.

More tests were done and more cancer was found in the lymph nodes, liver and abdomen, it was stage IV. I was told it was incurable and at that stage inoperable. Devastated doesn’t even come close to how we felt. I remember very little about this time in my life other than what I have just described and many friends and family pouring through our front door.

I started chemo fairly soon and thankfully responded to it well. Although there were some very dark moments in this time for all of us I coped by putting my head down and getting on with treatment. We told the kids Mum has a sick tummy and the doctors are giving Mummy medicine to fix it. Them being the age they were this was enough information at the time. As they have grown we have told them more. They now know that my sick tummy is cancer and I have told them I am young and I have good doctors so they don’t need to worry. We will tell them more as they need to know it.

Six months after I started chemo the tumors had shrunk so much that the doctors could operate and in fact when they went in they found no evidence of other disease. Unfortunately that was short lived, three months later a CT scan confirmed the disease had returned in my liver and abdomen and I have been back on IV chemo since November 2014.

My family and friends have been enormously supportive. I am very lucky to be married to such a wonderful man and my kids are a blessing. With them I am just Mum, not Lisa who has cancer.

 

Lisa McIntyre
Lisa McIntyre

 

 

Last year my oncologist, A/Prof Gavin Marx told me about a project he, his wife and a friend were working on. It was a photo book with templates to help cancer patients document their photos, memories, beliefs and thoughts as a keepsake for their families. It did not surprise me that Gavin would be a part of a project like this. During my treatment he and the SAN have had a holistic approach to my treatment. I couldn’t ask for better care.

My biggest worry is that my children won’t remember too much about me or that I won’t have as much impact on how they are raised. Through this book they are able to know me and I am able to parent them a little too with life lessons and my beliefs.

Of course my big dream is that a cure is found or at the very least my disease can be managed for years to come but in the event that I am taken from them before any of us are ready at least they have these beautiful books that shows them and tells them how much I love them all.

it’s about us is an online support tool designed to provide people affected by cancer with a platform to create a digital, template style scrap-book that can be personalised and printed as a beautiful keepsake. With easy-to-use software supplied by Australia’s leading photo book provider, Momento, it’s about us provides the inspiration and ability to capture people’s memories, emotions, thoughts and feelings, through text and photos, all within a supportive framework.

it’s about us allows cancer patients the opportunity to release their emotions and allow the cathartic process to take place, empowering them to create something real, relevant and meaningful, whether it’s for personal healing or for a lasting legacy.

Creating a book is a smooth and simple process, simply download the free Momento software, choose the it’s about us pack and start uploading your images and text. Momento is contributing to the project by offering it’s about us customers a 50% discount off RRP (excluding delivery) and a 1300 helpline.

www.itsaboutus.com.au

  • Hi Lisa, your courage to face this battle with bowel cancer is truly inspiring. Keep fighting till the end. I know of a friend who has same 4th stage bowel cancer as you and have taken organic & natural remedy solution and have helped her condition. She was told she only had 5 months to live but 5 years on she is still here. If you are interested, please feel free to contact me for more details.

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  • What a brave lady you are! Keep fighting and never lose hope xxx

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  • What a perfect gift for your family.

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  • What a strong person you are, memories are things that can mean the most to children and what a wonderful way of doing it

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  • you are strong and,incredibly brave and i really wish and hope you find a way to stay with your family thank you for sharing your story and making us aware of this wonderful software to share memories.

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  • Thankyou for sharing your story with us. You are an incredibly woman. Your children are blessed with a wonderful Mum. Praying that you get as much time with them as possible and that the doctors are able to continue to keep you stable and improve your condition.

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  • Lisa, thank you for sharing your journey with us. I think it is beautiful the way you and your husband have found an age appropriate way to include your children in understanding your treatment. I wish you all the love and joy in the world. Thank you for spreading the word about ITSABOUTME. My Aunt is recently in remission, and has been talking about what helped and could have helped her family. This is a lovely way to portray your emotions and your soul.

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  • I am both sad and devastated that doctors didn’t listen to you sooner. I also hope that a cure is found or that you get to spend the maximum time with your precious family. What a beautiful keepsake idea for your children, a parents biggest dear g think is not being there for all of our children’s milestones.

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  • I have tears running down my face reading this. For any mother to have to think about not being able to raise her kids would be heartbreaking. I wish you all the best Lisa xox

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  • Lisa, I wish you and your family all the best. I hope the treatment isn’t having any nasty side-effects.
    It must be so difficult to cope with, not only that but your family too. Obviously is very hard explaining it to your children without alarming them too much. Lets hope the children remember all the happy times they have with you. It is wonderful that you have plenty of support. The book is a fantastic idea. Your children may remember more than you think. My Grandma died when I was 4 y.o. The last thing I remember about her she was in hospital and my Mum fed her Icecream from what then called a Dandy. (a small cardboard cup with a lid on it).

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  • Dear Lisa, thank you so much for your post. I wish you all the best with your treatment and I wish you to spend a lot more years with your lovely family. The project looks amazing. The video presenting the program is very well done!
    A lot of positive thoughts coming your way.

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  • Great initiative!!

    Reply

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