By SARAH MAMALAI
Can you imagine being told you only had as few as 84 days left with your husband and young kids?
How do you tell your 4-year old and 18 month-old sons that their mum is very sick? Do you tell them she might die? What do you say?
What do you and your husband say to each other about the loss of your shared dreams for the future of your little family? How do you tell your parents that their daughter is dying?
And how can so many enormous questions come into your mind in mere seconds?
I had no answers. I had never let myself worry about the many huge and devastating things that could happen. Until they happened to me.
My name is Sarah Mamalai. In 2007, when I was 33 years old, I was told I had a highly malignant, highly aggressive brain tumour and that I needed surgery immediately.
“Pardon..?! What does that mean? Did you just tell me there is a huge tumour in my head? I need brain surgery – What?!”
The seriousness of this news did not hit us straight away, I even joked to my sister that I’d grown an egg. She is a nurse and knew straight away that this news was very serious indeed. She knew she could lose her sister.
I had brain cancer.
The very sound of those two words combined was horrifying. ‘Brain’ and ‘cancer’ – a cancer in my brain, the part of the body that makes me me, that holds my memories, my thoughts, my fears, how I feel, and all the history behind those feelings. My brain holds my dreams and the very essence of me.
The essence of me then was very different to the essence of me today. Brain cancer changed me in ways I could never imagine.
We were told brain cancer is incurable and almost always fatal. The longest I could hope to survive was 18 months. At worst I may only have three months left to live. What was glaringly absent was any sense of HOPE.
As you’ve read the start of my story, it would be hard to imagine how it could bring positive change, but it has…
In four weeks time, I will be standing on the stage at the end of an incredible event I created called Brainstorm for a Cure – a HUGE event that has raised funds towards Dr Charlie Teo’s goal of a cure to brain cancer within ten years. He is the event Patron.
The hundreds of people leaving this ‘Party with a Purpose’ have had a great party, laughed, cried and danced the night away to Australia’s newest pop sensation Timomatic! They are also leaving with a new awareness of the terrible impact of brain cancer and a desire to help the cause. I imagine I will be feeling quite drunk – a very happy drunk, with a sense of pride and relief that we’ve pulled this off!