Never in my wildest of dreams could I ever have imagined I would hear the words, "you have 6 months to 2 years left," especially at the age of 36.
My name is Kim FitzRoy.
Nearly 3 years ago I was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer and given my expiration date. I was a fit, healthy mum to two little girls - 3 and 19 months and had very few symptoms prior.
I started to feel unwell in June 2016, 2 weeks later I was undergoing emergency surgery to relive my distended bowel and 2 weeks after that, I received the news that I had stage 4 cancer.
I am a pretty stubborn person so my initial reaction to my expiration date was, "We will see about that," and we are still seeing.
With an incredible army of family and friends surrounding me, I am still going well, not cancer free yet, but certainly not expired. I have had 5 abdominal surgeries, radiation therapy and I’ve had so many rounds of chemotherapy, I’ve lost count.
I’m currently undergoing an immunotherapy trial at the Kinghorn Cancer Centre (NSW) where I feel very supported and cared for. It’s early days, but I have faith.
Cancer is a scary word. And fair enough. Navigating life with cancer is difficult. It’s plagued with the ‘what ifs’, the constant interruptions to normal life for surgery, treatment, scans, blood tests; the days and nights spent away from my beautiful girls; the sudden changes to the schedule; the financial stress and the hardest part is seeing people you love worry about you.
But there are so many positives too. Cancer made me appreciate every single second of every single day. It has made me love, open up to people, accept help and be grateful. Grateful for my amazing family, for the beautiful friends I have, for my divine - sometimes unruly - little girls.
I have continued to live as normally as I can. I work when I can, do Pilates as often as the treatment schedule allows, meditate, catch up with my warrior girlfriends for coffee most days and soak up the love and the positivity. Knowing I have people who truly believe in me has been imperative to my survival.
I continue to fight and will do everything in my power to win.
Every minute is a memory.