The Next Challenge

Friends and colleagues of mine who know of Steve’s advanced melanoma, often ask me how he is doing. When I tell them that he is doing really well: working full time, going to the gym daily and living life to the full, they seem surprised.

Most don’t expect that a man with advanced cancer, who undergoes treatment fortnightly, can still live a relatively normal life. Most, of course, don’t really know the kind of man my Pirate truly is.

“Fill me with the good stuff.”

This has become his mantra when he checks into Hotel Greenslopes for treatment in the ‘green chair’. Although, he admits to never being really used to having the cannula inserted for his infusion, the Pirate sees treatment day as being another step closer to NED. His positivity is inspiring to so many, but know that he does have his down days, when it all gets too much. It doesn’t last too long, but I know that having cancer is in the back of his mind at all times and sometimes, he just needs to forget about it.



So, of course, when I told people that my Pirate was heading south on his own to complete a fitness challenge, I received incredulous looks.

Who’d have thought that just two days after treatment, the Pirate would be in Sydney competing in the Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest challenge?

I must admit that I was a little concerned when he said he wanted to give it a go. I was worried how the stress and strain of such a challenge would affect him (and if I am really honest, I didn’t want him to go without me!) However, I know my Pirate and, when he sets his mind to do something, nothing and no one can stand in his way.

So, on the last weekend of the school year, he hopped on a plane and made his way to Sydney for a weekend on his own, to forget that he was living with cancer.


After completing 50 obstacles over 10 kilometres in under 2 hours, the Pirate’s sense of achievement had been boosted; his pride had been topped up again. He was so pleased with himself, so happy that he didn’t let cancer get in the way of achieving his goals and living the life he has always wanted.

And so was I.

xo, Wenchie





I’m really struggling at the moment. It’s so hard to not let fear rule when hope just seems so incongruous with the odds. Learning to live in the moment is tough. Even good news like Pirate’s shrinking tumours hasn’t eased my fears because I know we’ll be chasing this dreaded disease forever.
xo Lane, aka Pirate’s Wench.

[Life along the plank] #1 – Scanxiety

I’m sitting in the lobby lounge at Greenslopes Private Hospital with the Pirate. He’s just had his latest blood test and we are waiting for his results before his appointment with Dr A in an hour or so. You’d think I’d be used to this place by now but I’m not. It still freaks me out that we are here.

Never in my wildest nightmares would I have imagined we’d be regular visitors to this place at this stage in our lives and because of the Pirate. I thought we’d dealt with this shit when he was first diagnosed in Feb 2010 with OM – ocular melanoma, his primary melanoma – and he had an enucleation of the offending left eye. But of course, life doesn’t work that way.

Since his latest diagnosis in April this year, I’ve been battling major anxiety and regardless of his most recent good news it hasn’t really eased my mind. My ability to deal with stressful siuations is impaired at present. It really does feel as if we are being made to walk the plank and the ship we are on keeps rocking back and forth with the turbulent sea and every change in result. It’s very difficult to trust that everything is going to be alright when we don’t really know – just as we can’t predict the sea, we can’t predict the outcome of cancer.

Yet, my brain and my heart still hurt with the ‘what ifs’ no matter how many times I remind them to cease their constant hum of melancholy. It’s a struggle but I am trying really hard to stay as positive as I can with a head full of fear and anxiety. It’s no use thinking too far ahead because there is no point. I’m a born worrier. I can’t change who I am. I just need to keep breathing and hold my balance on the plank as steady as I can.

xo Pirate’s Wench