The Final Play Has Come…
By Meridee Walter
Meridee has written a few articles for us and volunteered at the Auckland Mix and Mingle. Shortly after arriving back in New Zealand in December 2016 after seven years of being away, Meridee was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer. Her tenacity, fighting spirit and positive attitude have engaged everyone who knows her. Meridee shares her love of life by blogging regularly. In December 2018 she wrote the blog below. It still shows her fighting spirit and love for life in spite of the news received.
We have altered the blog slightly so that it can be read by those who have not been following Meridee’s journey. Meridee has kindly given us permission to share this with you, for your inspiration too.
Meridee is now living in Sydney, Australia to access a new immunotherapy treatment.
The Final Play Has Come…
A couple of weeks ago I hit a point I had hoped I wouldn’t. I’ve had a lot of treatment since being diagnosed with cancer and we’ve always, in the background, known immunotherapy exists. We’ve chatted about it a few times and always found some other option. It has remained the card up the sleeve and that’s how I liked it. Until two weeks ago.
That’s when the world went for another spin and a spectacular crash for me. I went for my scan result and was informed the chemotherapy isn’t working. Sure, the two smaller spots are shrinking but the big bugger (Stephen Shitbag) who’s wedged himself at the back of my liver and is trying to buddy up with blood vessels and stuff, he’s not having any of this chemo crap. While the rest of my body is busy falling apart from it, he’s thriving and has grown two centimetres since the last scan. The shitbag.
Well, we can’t be having that. Me getting sicker from something that’s supposed to be killing him. So chemo is off the cards and we went back to exploring any option possible. Unfortunately my second appointment of the week provided the news I did not want to hear. There is nothing left that we can do within our health system, the amazing people involved in my care explored everything and were left wanting. It’s time to pull the card from the sleeve and play it, hoping like hell it does just what I need it to.
The idea of knowing this could be the last attempt; this could be make or break; if technology and science don’t move quickly this is probably the only thing standing between me and death; that’s a sobering moment. I’ve thought about death a lot since May last year; not in a macabre way, just in a way that happens when put face to face with it. I’ve accepted that we all die one day and that my day may come sooner than I ever thought. I can assure you, I’m just not ready for it yet! And so death returned to the front of my mind in the last couple of weeks. I had a conversation about how this cancer may cause death. Well that’s surreal in itself, thinking about not just dying from cancer but actually what would be happening to my organs for that to happen. It seems hard to believe when I appear so healthy but behind the smiles and laughter, the bright lipstick and normal looking body, there’s a traitor in camp and it’s trying to murder me.
Despite that looming figure of death that’s been hanging around me I have never stopped loving my life. Being grateful for the amazing people around me, family and friends near and far and people who have joined my support network along the way. Some people I haven’t even met are rallying behind me with positive encouragement. I love the world, the life we are gifted and the opportunity to give back to the people I encounter. This love that continues to grow within me gives me the determination to keep living. It’s this passion for life that says I’m not ready to die!
Now the logistics of it begin. We go into the process of how we can access a treatment that isn’t available in the public health system here. I am so fortunate to have an oncologist, in fact a whole medical team, who care, who genuinely want to see me live. My oncologist is not just looking for the easy option but for what he feels has the best chance of working. We’re exploring every opportunity to make the right decision.
This is the bit where I’m less fortunate, and believe me it is not often I say that. We need to find the money to do it. Money to give me the chance to continue my life, swelling with love and passion. I’ve always been an independent person who wants to take care of herself. Now I’ve accepted the need to swallow my pride and ask for help.
My wonderful family and friends have rallied together to start the hectic process of raising these funds. No wonder I love life when surrounded by amazing people like them.
No matter how high the odds are stacked against me I know I’ll love this life I have been gifted.
This disclaimer informs readers that the views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author’s employer, organization, committee or other group or individual.
Meridee Walter qualified from AUT with a Degree in Communication. She has put this to good use working with people in primarily training and development roles in the UK. Meridee now resides back in her native New Zealand. Meridee believes “Don’t ever save anything for a special occasion. Being alive is the special occasion.” You can follow Meridee at thrillspillsandaheadscarf.blogspot.com