The Bride's entry-winning letter:
So, our story begins like this.... October last year I had a grand mal seizure while playing in the park with our kids. I was rushed to hospital. They thought I had a stroke. At the age of 27, fit and healthy I thought "how could this happen to me"? My mum had a stroke 2 years ago and she has recovered miraculously - I thought yup if she can do it and be perfectly normal and happy – I can do it too. It wasn’t until my MRI scans came through and the results of the CT scan that would change our lives forever. I had a 4.5cm lesion in my right paretial lobe of the brain. They couldn’t tell me how long it had been there but kept saying how lucky we were that the seizure had happened. Normally you don’t get a warning like this especially so early on, the tumour itself was putting so much pressure on the other areas of my brain from the swelling from being so fatigued and tired from work and being a mum of a 2 year old that it just erupted. The word "lucky" was not one that came to our minds.
In January I had a biopsy of the brain tumor. The results that came back were as good as can be – stage 2 cancer, the type of tumor is called an Astrocytoma Glioma. The median life span of this particular tumor is 10 years. I was referred straight through to my oncologist team at the RBWH where I met with my radio-oncologist and my chemo-oncologist. It was then when reality hit the hardest – they looked at my husband and me and said great news we have caught this early – however the type of tumor it is, and where it's located in the brain makes it inoperable. Radiation won’t shrink it or cure it – it will only give you time. The tumor has stealth like features it grows little tentacles (like arms and legs) and goes to good parts of the brain and grows. Those little tentacles won’t show up on scans only when it forms more tumours will be when we see another lesion/growth in the brain. Even if they operate those little legs won’t be seen therefore they will just keep growing and multiplying. My first reaction was let's beat this thing, let's get straight into radio and chemo I need to see my son grow up, and I want to grow old and experience life adventures with my best friend and husband-to-be. The doctors then went into the risks of the radio and chemo – at 28 – loss of sight, permanent loss of hair, brain damage to good parts of the brain and cells, early dementia, infertility, numbness and loss of full movement and quality of life were just some of the things I would be at risk of losing. Again – reality sunk in along with a lot of emotions. This wasn’t going to be over in a couple of weeks nor months. The one course of the first treatment is 6 weeks radio therapy every day which equals time off work = no income or support for my family from me.
At this stage Troy and I are buying our time together until the next MRI and radio-oncologist appointment in April and May. The risk of treatment is all too much for me right now. Too much at risk, too much to lose. We have decided to put our wedding plans on hold and defer them for a couple of years and focus on getting better this year which means spending quality time with family. I know in a couple of years I may not get this opportunity to marry Troy or even physically walk down the aisle the way I had dreamt of; however, we now have the best opportunity to do both. Have our cake and eat it too.
We had our friends and family nominate us for Mark and Caroline's Express Wedding. We know we don’t have forever together but forever is our now and we are hoping that everyone in our family can get involved and have their loved ones and friends get behind us and support us by voting.
So obviously since this was written, Troy and I did indeed win Mark and Caroline's Express Wedding. We were announced legally Husband and Wife on the 16th of March 2015. We were surrounded by all our loved ones – family and friends and had a spectacular day. It was certainly an express rollercoaster and luckily enough not too many hiccups along the way. I really have a lot of respect for Bride's who plan a wedding over a year – I could not have handled that – the pressure and organizing it all, mine was organized in just one a week! No stress since it was all done.
We still feel extremely grateful for all the support from the sunshine coast including our friends and family and those who continue supporting us and those who we have met along the way since the wedding and exposure in the media. We are truly in awe and still very much on cloud nine.