Cancer … the word you never want to hear

September 23, 2018, I found a lump growing on my wife’s right breast that had suddenly appeared. Marie did the right thing and immediately had an ultrasound which followed a mammogram. These turn of events led us both to a breast surgeon at St George Private Hospital. Marie and I both surmised before going in, that she might need to do some radiotherapy and we prepared ourselves for that outcome.

Then the bombshell was dropped. It was like getting slammed in the head by an unforeseen force. I froze, my jaw dropped and Marie began to weep uncontroalably understanding the severity of her prognosis.

Marie was diagnosed with advanced stage 3 breast cancer. It had spread to her lymph nodes in her armpit and we needed to act quick. Under this unimaginable stressful situation, you can imagine, a million thoughts and questions soon followed. Why? How? Breast Cancer was not in her family? Marie was fit. She went to the gym. She ate reasonably well and was only 40 years old?

Then the big and most painful decision that rocked us both to the core … how do we tell our two boys. Alexander who was 12 and Leonardo only 11 at the time. To this day, that was the worst day of our lives for sure.

Alexander, Leonardo, Phil Philips

And through all this, like a true champion rising up. Marie remained positive and strong. Just another hurdle in our life we needed to deal with. Cancer was not going to defeat her. Marie underwent surgery, removed the growth and the cancerous nodes, and shortly after, commenced chemotherapy and radiotherapy where she went through the motions and lost all her hair.

Fast forward nearly a year, Marie who once wore lush-long-locks now rocks a short hairstyle and is doing well. Her strength through all this has been all inspiring, which leads me to why I’m writing this blog.

So many people are dealing with loved ones dealing with cancer. Life is definitely put on pause for a while. I found myself not sleeping, worrying about what if? I changed my diet and joined the gym. It’s a life-altering mental game that will never go away.

So many mixed emotions catapulted into my mind. I thought after this, I would put my writing aside, but instead used the anger, the passion into my storytelling. It became my release. Some people meditate, some go for long runs. I got lost in my story when everyone went to bed.

It all started for me with a single question that kept repeating in my mind.
What would a father/mother do for her children? – Anything… Everything…

This very statement I idolized with all my characters in my upcoming novel which will be the trilogy in the Joey Peruggia Adventure Series. I found keeping busy was the answer. To keep moving. Keep your mind active. Paint, write, go to the gym. Tell your loved ones you love them. Live life, travel, watch the sunset, swim in the ocean and cherish every moment. We are all here for a short time so stop worrying and spread joy and happiness.

This September we are flying to Cyprus for a long-awaited holiday. In sharing this personal story of mine, I hope I’ve touched someone out there going through tough times. You are not alone, keep your head up and stay strong. Love Phil.

Philip and Marie Philips Wedding day june 2000
3rd June 2000
Staying Strong and Creative while my Wife is Fighting Breast Cancer