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Not Alone

My name is Hannah and I am Jared’s wife. For a while now, he has been encouraging me to write a post for his blog. Another voice perhaps. Another perspective. Those of you who know Jared well,  know that he is a talker. Not many people would describe me as such. But I think the time does come when it is important to break one’s silence; at the very least, to respond to the many people who have expressed love and concern for us both through this blog site.

It has been 15 months since Jared was diagnosed with metastatic bowel cancer. Until then, the words cancer, diagnosis, prognosis and chemotherapy scarcely formed part of our vocabulary; we used them to talk about patients and people we knew of, always one step removed. Since cancer burst in the door and took up a seat in our living room, life has never really been the same. Not worse, not desperate, not awful, just different and more challenging in ways we never imagined it would be.

I am a paediatric registrar. For the months leading up to Jared’s diagnosis, I was caring for children, some as young as a few months of age, who were diagnosed with brain tumours, some curable some very terminal. Most of my evening and night shifts involve one or several trips to the oncology ward, where there are children with cancer undergoing some form of treatment, and suffering the consequences, either of the cancer itself or the treatment targeted at its cure or palliation. Each of these children represents a family unit, whose lives will never quite be the same again. I see in the eyes of the parents what I see in the eyes of Jared’s parents; that life is unfair, that children aren’t supposed to get cancer before their parents do.

The truth is, cancer is all around. Everyone knows someone who is fighting it. My husband, a school friend, my high school teacher, the mother of a close friend, my father’s cousin – all within the past year. Jared’s heart-on-sleeve-style willingness to speak and blog and share his story with whoever will listen has allowed us an amazing insight into the lives of countless people who have fought cancer, some of whom have lived to tell the tale, others of whom have not. Our lives are richer for meeting these people, for connecting with their families. Though you would never wish the experience on anyone, the knowledge that we are not alone in this is strangely comforting.

This blog began as a distraction, a very real way to pass the time as chemotherapy threatened to drive Jared “up the wall”. Over time I have observed its function change; it has become a dynamic, relational tool, where Jared interacts with his online community (with you!), family, friends, colleagues, a global village of people who encourage, challenge, reflect and pray. It is a very tangible reminder to us that though we walk a rugged path we did not choose, we are not alone. And for this we are thankful.

Thank you for listening to Jared. Thank you for being there for us.

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  1. Tarryn
    March 8, 2010 at 7:18 am

    Love you both xoxo

  2. julie Turner
    March 8, 2010 at 7:27 am

    Thank you Hannah for sharing with us the road you walk with Jared. Not the easiest of walks, not even a stroll, it is more like a full on hard out tramp! The journey for each of us is different and unique, but those that aren’t on yours are still with you and share in your pain and difficulties because we love you….and the extended family unit. xx

  3. rhys
    March 8, 2010 at 7:29 am

    nice to hear your side of things hannah!

  4. Mike
    March 8, 2010 at 11:16 am

    It’s a privilege to follow your journey. Thank you both for sharing online in this way.

  5. Sandie Harris
    March 8, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    Jared that is awesome! I often wonder how you are in this all. Love to you both xxx

  6. Sandie Harris
    March 8, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    I actually ment Hannah that is awesome lol.. You know me speak before thinking 🙂

  7. Frances
    March 8, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    I read this at work. Tears at the desk. Love from Mum

  8. Sarah
    March 9, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    Hi Hannah, thanks for sharing your story here. You two are definitely not alone.

  9. Al
    March 10, 2010 at 12:37 am

    Hey guys… Hannah… thanks for sharing this… Jared is so incredibly lucky that he has his PERFECT match and helper by his side through this… Reading his post on your birthday and now reading your post brings a real sense of “Team Noel” weathering this storm. Praying for you both and sending love and prayers! 🙂 Al

  10. Petro
    March 11, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    Thanks for sharing a bit of your thoughts. I pray that Father will just carry you guys and bless you. Everything happens with a purpose….Lots of love

  11. March 18, 2010 at 11:20 pm

    Hannah, I like the way you describe the journey of cancer. Not better, not worse, just different. There is very little in life that we can control but we can always choose our reaction. That’s how a person with so much can be unhappy and a person with cancer can be very very happy. I can tell you know this already. You were an insperation at school and you still are. xox

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