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For those who don't understand ... here is a little insight.

God I miss my life.

Every single day I wake up and I am thankful I have got another one in. I also lay there and think what I have on for the day, and nine times out of ten it’s nothing. Another day on the couch, another day of doing absolutely jack shit! Having leukaemia means I have blood cancer. My entire body has cancer cells running throughout it.  It’s not as simple as cutting out a tumour and mopping it up with chemo and some radiation. This time around they literally have to kill every cell in my body and let it regenerate itself. When I am having weekly chemo hits and sometimes three times a week, these cells don’t get a break. It takes time to regenerate and in the meantime I just have to sit and wait.

Some days I have enough energy to get up, have a shower, get dressed and put a load of washing on. That is a good day and other days it takes everything I have in me just to have a shower and get dressed. To stand in the shower is an effort, my legs hurt, and my feet swell. My hands and feet are numb from the neuropathy caused by the chemo. Neuropathy is the nerve endings being damaged. At times I can’t feel my fingers at all, other times I can't feel my toes. Sometimes my feet are so sore all I can do is sit with them elevated and breathe through the shooting pains. Wearing shoes is not the most comfortable. Gone are the days I can chuck on a pair of heels or wedges and feel beautiful, strut and feel like I can take on the world. I now live in my crocs as they slip on and give me some cushioning. If I want to ‘dress up’ I put on my birks and peel them off after my feet have swollen and they have become a part of my foot. Who would have thought Kate Gale would wear Crocs in public?

Waiting for my cells to regenerate means my immune system is low and I need to be super careful. I can’t be around anyone that is sick, not even someone who is slightly sick. If I catch a cold, it could kill me. Imagine your kids coming home and having a snotty nose and you have to lock yourself away in your room, just to stay away from germs. Imagine not being able to sit on the couch with your kids and cuddle them whilst watching tv or sitting next to them at the dinner table. Imagine not being able to jump in the car and head to the supermarket to grab some bread and milk because 1. Your body wouldn’t handle the walk from the car into the supermarket, then the walk around the supermarket, through the check out and then back to the car. 2. Your immune system is so low you would need to wear a mask, not touch anything and you run the risk of picking up an infection. The simplest of things I can’t do, or if I do I run the risk of ending up in hospital, hooked up to IV drips, being locked away from the world until these pesky little cells of mine regenerate. The simplest of things can’t happen and I miss my life like crazy.

We all used to complain about having to wear a mask everywhere we went during covid. Well … my mask wearing days are far from over and something I’m not going to be able to put in my past for a long time yet. I have masks everywhere ready to go and hand sanitizer running through my veins!

I get super frustrated not being able to do the most mundane chores. I pay a cleaner to come in every two weeks to clean my house from top to bottom, so Bob and the girls don’t have to do everything. I can’t put a load of washing on without being breathless and in pain. Carrying a basket of washing from the clothesline inside takes it out of me. I can do it, and I push myself to do it, but I then need to sit down and rest for a little bit. I need to put my feet up and catch my breath. At times I sound like an old steam train trying to get up a hill.  I never thought I would say this, but I would do anything to be able to make the bed. I would love to be able to vacuum the house and scrub my shower. I look forward to the day that I can once again be a housewife and a mum that can do it all.

Although I have finished the heavy side of treatment, I still have to have chemo for another 18 months. At this stage this looks like one IV chemo a month for six months as well as steroid treatment and oral chemo. I still have to be super careful. I have bloods done every Monday where the nurses come to my house, take blood and change the dressing on my port in my chest. I don’t even go to the hospital to do this, I am still in my home, in my bubble. Strangely enough I look forward to seeing the nurse, as it is someone from the outside. I then spend the rest of Monday waiting for the nurse to call with my results. This tells me if I have a little freedom for the week or not. If my levels are good, then I might be allowed out to a basketball meeting, or I can go for a trip to the supermarket with Bob. If my levels are low then I know I have to stay in my bubble, be careful who I am around, and my freedom consists of a lap around the court once a day.

I love receiving messages from friends and family. They check in to see how I am doing, which is nice, but I would do anything to be able to actually catch up with them. Speak to them in person, go visit them or go to a restaurant but that would be really living on the edge. However, I need to patient and wait for this to happen. I need to kill this bastard and then allow myself time to get well. I need to be patient. If I have learnt anything during this shit sandwich it is how to be patient. I have also learnt that not everyone understands and that I can’t get upset when they don’t.

Seeing people go on holidays, or away for the long weekends is tough. I would give anything to be able to go on holidays with Bob and our girls, in fact I dream about it! They have all been amazing during this and given up so much. I can’t tell you how many times I have let my girls down by not being able to do things with them. This doesn’t sit well with me but I have no choice. Seeing them go off to concerts with friends tugs at the hearts strings a little, because I would love to be doing this with them. I don't even have the energy to cut their hair and when I do, I use every inch I have. I just want to be the fun, exciting mum I once was!

We are going to a gala ball here in Ballarat in May. It is to raise funds for Hand in Hand Foundation which Gem donates a portion of her book sales to. I’m really looking forward to going as it is something I can share with Bob and Gem. A chance to dress up and actually leave the house. A three course meal, a live band and dancing. I know I will hate getting ready as I am not happy with the way I look, another side effect from chemo that I just need to accept, but I will do it, put a smile on my face and make the most of it. I know I won’t be able to enjoy a drink because my poor liver won't be able to handle that, but I am going to have a dance even it means I have to sit down afterwards and rest for a bit. I know I can’t wear heels but I’m going to be able to wear a pair of pretty flats. I’m going to watch my girl have a good time and celebrate the fact she helps to make a difference to a fantastic cause and I’m going to watch my husband all dressed up in his suit, have a beer and enjoy the fact we aren’t locked away in our house because of me. Hell, I might even shave my legs for the occasion! I may have to do that the day before because it will take 24 hours to recuperate but I want to frock up and look my best. You may not think that going to a gala ball is exciting but to me at the moment, it is everything. It is something to look forward to, something to aim for!

So, this is just a little insight into the life of Kate Gale at the moment. I’m sorry if I’m not the exciting Kate that I used to be, but I’m literally attempting to regrow myself from the inside out and it’s tough. At times I want to give up, but then I look at what Bob, Bree and Gem have given up to carry me this far and I need to keep going. I owe it to them to keep growing good cells, to get up each morning and try to do something new each day, as little as that may be. One foot in front of the other and one day at a time.

We are still in for the long haul, cancer treatment is still a huge part of our lives and will be for a long time yet. I had finally found myself after my first diagnosis of breast cancer and this was far from what I thought my future would hold. After 15 years I was finally happy and living my best life, and this is just an unplanned detour. I hate that I am now again known as the cancer girl, but that’s something I can’t control. It came knocking on my door again and I opened that door. Now I have to work extra hard to close it again, but that is going to take time. While the regeneration happens, I am going to take every small win that I can, appreciate life and work towards being able to go on that dream holiday with my little fam and thank them for holding me up. Until then, I need to be patient!


Kate xx

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Apr 11

If there is anyone at all who can ‘Rock Crocs’, it could only be you!!!

Even if sitting in a chair 🤩

You give us all reason to keep on going. I want to see you dancing once again, loving life with the ferocity that’s still deep inside of you.

Your courage is for all of us 💖 xxx

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