For six years, Connie Johnson has been fighting against the slow creep of terminal breast cancer.
With her brother — well-known Australian actor Samuel Johnson — by her side, the 39-year-old mother-of-two has endured the disease in different forms three times over.
First at 11, then at 22, and now since age 33.
Through their charity Love Your Sister, the Johnson siblings have worked tirelessly to raise awareness about breast cancer and created a ‘village’ of support around themselves and others affected by it.
Yesterday, Connie posted a heartbreakingly honest 'rant' about the painful reality of her illness on the group's Facebook page, which struck a chord with many of those in the community and doubtless many outside of it.
"Most days I can see the bright side, most of the time I feel grateful for what I have, but there are days when I just get fed up," she began the post, which has already been been shared more than 3000 times.
"I don’t normally talk about the sucky side of my experience here, because I don’t want this to be a place of negativity, but enough is enough, I have had it up to here with cancer and it’s time to drop my lolly."
Connie then addresses "the obvious things about cancer", like nausea and fatigue, hair loss and pain, before frankly discussing many of the others:
"I have been going through chemically induced menopause since I was 33, the hot flushes are unbearable and the night sweats so bad that I sometimes have to change all of my bedding several times a night. I now have to wear continence aids because I keep wetting myself. The vomiting is unpredictable, I don’t know if I will keep down each meal.
"I’m scared to leave the house because I don’t want to wet myself in public, or end up in a gutter throwing up. And it might seem trivial to worry about being bald, but I hate not having hair, I feel self-conscious and can’t stand the sight of myself. I have covered all the mirrors in the house so I don’t accidentally see myself and get that brutal reminder that I have cancer."
Every day she Connie must takes a minimum of 28 tablets. She is always tired and often in an out of hospital.
"There is constant fear. Fear that each little ache and pain is more cancer, and fear that the cancer is winning," she writes.
To add insult to injury cancer sufferers are often the recipients of well-meaning but largely unhelpful unsolicited advice.
"I have to listen to people tell me that if I eat apricot kernels or marijuana cookies I will be cured and that pharmaceutical companies are hiding the cure because they want to keep making money off chemo. It’s ridiculous.
"No matter how positive I am, I will die of this disease. The best I can hope for is to live a bit longer, knowing that the life I do get to squeeze in will be full of appointments, waiting rooms, needles, medication, and side effects. And I am one of the lucky ones, I have been able to live longer than expected because there was a drug that stabilised my cancer for a long time."
The purpose of the post, she explains, is not to "whinge", but rather acknowledge "how cruel and relentless cancer is. How hard it is to live with."
She goes on to say that she is one of the lucky ones and how grateful she is to have family with her and to have seen her two young sons, Willoughby and Hamilton make it halfway through their primary school years.
More than 48,000 Facebook users have reacted to the post, which drew thousands of comments or support and solidarity.