Mum’s heartbreaking plea for help
ACCORDING to Louise DeCelis, "cancer sucks arse".
The Sydney-based mum of two was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer in June 2017 at the age of 39.
After enduring six rounds of intravenous chemotherapy, multiple unplanned trips to the hospital, a mastectomy, 24 rounds of radiotherapy and six rounds of oral chemotherapy, she was told the treatment didn't work.
She was also informed the cancer had metastasised to the liver and bones.
The self-described "unshakeable optimist" has written a popular blog about her cancer journey, writing "having cancer as a mum hits you in a place so deep, so raw and so terrifying that it's impossible to describe".
"What I want most is to see my babies grow up and to know they are not suffering the loss of their mum.
"Evie is 4, and Noah's nearly 6. The thought of not being there for them growing up is a place I try not to imagine. I want to see what beautiful people they become. I worry they won't remember me. They have been through so much in the last year but still they are so brave, always smiling, always loving, always silly. They haven't lost their innocence to cancer yet and I hope they never have to."
She posted a heartfelt plea for her family on Facebook over the weekend.
"Dear family and friends, the time has come for us to ask for your help," she wrote.
"I want to talk about my family. And I want to ask for your help. Help with a fundraiser to generate the funds required to afford the treatments I need. And for my family to live comfortably with me, wherever in the world we land for treatment.
"For us now the stakes couldn't be any higher. I have aggressive metastatic cancer moving through my body. My doctors define it as stage four and terminal. Soon it could impair my liver function.
"Terminal is just not something we will lay down and accept, however, the treatment options are limited and overseas treatment will likely hold the key. We have sought out the best international doctors and clinics who specialise in my type of cancer. We await a few more test results before we can make a call on which way we go. But the paths are very much the same. And they all come with a very high price for life.
"Treatment facilities and hospitals overseas are hundreds of thousands of dollars and that is without medical issue or travel and relocation costs. The best diagnostic gene profiling and chemosensitivity tests run from $5500-$10,000…per test! We've spent $40,000+ in just the four months since the metastatic diagnosis in July."
"We need to stop this cancer from spreading any further and we need to move fast. One liver lesion alone doubled in size in just six weeks and new lesions were detected. Terrifying.
I could live well with the current cancer in my body for many years as long as there is no growth or new lesions. However, to date we have not had that result from any of the five treatments we've tried … and are now onto the sixth. We need a multi-disciplined approach to hit this abominable disease from all sides."
The family is holding a fundraising event in December to raise funds for the potential overseas treatment.
"My disease is currently incurable but treatable and the reality is until they find a cure, we will be forever focused on treatment and survival," she continues.
"They predict a cure will be found within about five years, so we're going to fight like hell, one day at a time, for 1825 days (five years) and keep me alive."
Despite the fact that they live in an affluent Sydney suburb, Louise writes that money is "always a massive worry."
"Money is a big worry for most families without throwing the cost of cancer into the thought blender," she writes.
"Dom and I built a great business that had several years of doubling annual growth. We never missed mortgage payments, we travelled the world. However, my cancer off the back of Dom's bike accident has completely crippled us. We've been in this fight for 17 months now and the truth is, if it wasn't for family support we'd be beggars on the street. For that, we are extremely fortunate and downright lucky, however, it is not sustainable.
"It's a strange feeling of living in a beautiful suburb, in a beautiful house, with a nice car and all the trimmings that make our life easy and enjoyable. And then one day you find yourself struggling to pay bills for gas, electricity, phones, internet, childcare, clothing, petrol, tax, school and daycare. Sometimes food. It's such an enormous fall from what we have come to be used to. And yet on the outside, we look to most like life hasn't changed. But it has. We count our dollars and we value what we have so much more.