Dale and Doone were nearing the end of their first year of marriage and their baby, Jai, was 5 weeks old when they discovered Dale had a brain tumour. Though it has been a long and difficult journey, they have supported each other every step of the way.
We went to bed one night with our lives completely normal, as normal as it gets with a brand new baby. Little did we know that when we woke up the next morning our lives would be turned upside down.
Dale had a seizure in the early hours of the morning, it woke me up. I had never seen a seizure before and it was confronting and frightening. Thankfully instinct kicked in and I called 000.
When Dale finally stopped seizing he was unconscious. The ambulance arrived (within 12 minutes) but before they could move him from the bed he had another seizure, then another in the ambulance before they got out of our driveway.
When we arrived at the hospital he was taken for a CT.
The nurses took Jai while the doctor broke the news that Dale had a massive tumour and things did not look good at all. I was terrified.
A few hours later they were able to send Dale for an MRI, which showed the tumour was large, but not as large as first suspected, with lots of swelling.
Dale had not yet regained consciousness. He had no idea what had happened since going to bed the night before.
Breaking the news to Dale when he finally woke up was heart wrenching. He was flown to RPA later that day.
That was 2.5 years ago.
Since that day life has been a roller coaster. Dale continued to have seizures which were difficult to control, and he was constantly having to change his medications.
Many people don’t understand a lot about brain tumours and how they affect the lives of the patient and their loved ones. People with brain tumours can often look well, but the reality is very different, with a lot of psychological issues to deal with as well.
There were many, many dark days, there were times when everything seemed just too much. It was very isolating.
We have, however, been blessed by wonderful people all around us throughout Dale’s care, from the very first ambulance men, the emergency nurses, doctors, support staff, our amazing GP and of course Dr Brindha Shivalingham.
We owe Brindha everything. She saved Dale’s life and we could not be more grateful. For Dale she is his guardian angel. We have also been supported by our close family and our wonderful neighbours, and even people we hardly know.
We have been to hell and back but as we are coming out the other side there seem to be people everywhere just waiting to extend their hand in support.
Chris O’Brien Lifehouse has saved us – we are so grateful. There is so much kindness and support here, it is most definitely our second family. Jai is completely at home here, he is looked after by everyone, and he especially enjoys the beautiful sounds of Owen’s harp playing in the foyer on Mondays. There are so many people here who mean so much to us and so many we want to thank.
Hopefully someday in the near future we can make as much of a difference to others lives and return the kindness.
The most important thing for us now is to enjoy every moment, whatever we happen to be doing. When you are in the depths of despair it can seem as though the sun will never rise again, but it does. Every day is a new opportunity.