PRAYING FOR A MIRACLE: Heather Smith (back centre), who is battling bowel cancer, is surrounded by her four daughters and husband (from left) Stephen, Sarah, 8, Aimee, 4, Chloe, 14, and Kaitlyn, 12. Picture: Kelly Slater.THE recent death of AFL great Jim Stynes sounded a reality check for East Devonport mother of four Heather Smith.
Now Mrs Smith, who is battling bowel cancer, is praying for a miracle.
“Jim Stynes was about the same age as me, he passed away after a three- year battle. You think `what’s the difference between you and Jim Stynes?”‘ she said.
Diagnosed on December 31, 2010, Mrs Smith was rushed in for emergency bowel surgery on January 1, 2011, but the aggressive cancer had already spread to her liver.
In February this year Mrs Smith was due to undergo a liver resection and was told it was highly unlikely the cancer would have grown so fast that the liver resection would not be possible, but it had and the operation was cancelled.
“The cancer had grown quite dramatically by that stage,” she said.
Mrs Smith uses a blog to help share with friends and family her frustrations on bad days and logs her feelings as she progresses through treatment.
“I use a blog site called caring bridge, basically I write anything that comes to mind. It’s good because then people don’t have to ring me and ask me all the time what’s going on or what to pray for,” she said.
“I get the feelings out and just get on with it then.”
Mrs Smith said she told her four daughters Aimee, 4, Sarah, 8, Kaitlyn, 12, and Chloe, 14, as much as each of them could understand.
“You tell them the facts, they ask questions. You don’t want to hide anything from them.
“They know everything, as much as they can understand.”
Mrs Smith said since her diagnosis, she had met and been in contact with a number of cancer sufferers and attended the Relay for Life rally where she met others in a similar situation to herself.
Mrs Smith said meeting other people with cancer provided comfort and support, but highlighted the unpredictable nature of the disease.
“You get people who don’t get any warning at all. I have to be grateful, at this point I’m reasonably healthy and can still get to do things like spend time with the family,” she said.
Mrs Smith said it was important not to worry about the small stuff or take life for granted.
“I live each day and don’t leave things undone.
“We spend a bit more time together as a family now and go away on short breaks.
“The housework’s not as important as reading with the kids,” she said.
This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.