When cancer strikes the one you love.



It was Christian’s voice that first attracted me to him. As my recruitment consultant, he’d called to see how I was settling into my new job and his upbeat, chatty tone put a smile on my face. A coffee catch up turned into our first date. He was so open and friendly that soon I realised he was the one I wanted to see at the end of each day.

I’d known about his cancer scare with melanoma and by the time we met, he’d had it cut out and only needed regular scans. But just a few months into our relationship, doctors found a melanoma lesion on Christian’s lung.

That first experience of his surgeries was tough. Waiting was the hardest part. Whether it was results of scans or surgeries, I’d always find myself dreaming up the worst case scenario. Eventually I learnt to put the ‘what ifs’ aside and not worry too much unless I got that phone call.

That phone call came six years later, in December 2010. By then we’d moved in together, got married and had our first two children, Flynn and Aiden. The melanoma on his lung was back and he’d also developed thyroid cancer – the news was gut-wrenching. Aiden was just a baby and having the kids really changed the impact of the diagnosis for us.

Christian needed surgery and radiation; afterwards it was crucial he rested so he couldn’t go back to work for weeks. I had to learn to be independent again. You don’t realise how much you rely on someone until they’re sick and suddenly relying on you.

His treatment went well and six months later, we were thrilled to find out that I was pregnant again with our son, Archer. We were so happy and life returned to normal – until August 2012.


My wonderful husband, always so strong and resilient, called me from the hospital, crying. He’d just been for a check-up. The melanoma on his lung was back.

I knew I had to stay strong as Christian went for surgery again but it was exhausting. I wanted to fall into a heap but when you’re a carer and have three young children, there just isn’t time for you.

It’s taken its toll on the kids. Aiden (two) really misses his dad when he’s in hospital and Flynn (five) has cried at school each morning, worrying that one day, his dad won’t come home from hospital.  We try really hard to get the boys into a routine, where Christian’s home each night to see them.

Christian’s had recent surgery and starts radiotherapy next month. They have to get it all this time. Due to scar tissue, doctors might not be able to operate on that lung again. As much as it challenges us, Christian’s battle with cancer has made us closer and helped us realise we’re stronger than we thought.

We’ve had a tough time but we wanted to give something back which is why we’re helping Cancer Council Victoria raise funds for melanoma research. No family deserves to go through what we have so to find a cure, researchers need funding.

For now, there’s a lot to look forward to. We’re throwing Christian a 40th birthday party and want to visit Fiji for our 10th wedding anniversary. Most importantly, we’re looking forward to Christian being cancer free and – together – seeing our little boys grow up.

To donate, visit or call 1300 65 65 85.

Marni Cousins is an independent filmmaker and mother of three young boys. Marni has been writing and producing films for five years now, and is currently working on a documentary titled, The Carer.