Terminally Fabulous! Mum fulfils daughter’s dying wish
A SPRINGFIELD Lakes mum has realised her daughter's dream of publishing her hugely popular blog about dealing with her terminal cancer.
"Honestly, I'm not worried how many books sell. But I do hope we get exposure for those people who need it, because I remember going through that journey myself," she said.
"You can be surrounded by people but you can feel like the loneliest person in the world because until you're in that situation, you have no idea what people are going through. It's like living with a ticking time bomb."
Terminally Fabulous had 65,000 followers when Lisa died in March, 2017, and has now been published as a book.
Lisa was diagnosed in 2012 after she discovered a large lump on the left hand side.
"They removed the lump and she had chemo and she was given the all clear in November 2012, but unfortunately, her type of cancer was gastric sarcoma and if it returned, and there would be no cure and they'd just have to manage the symptoms."
Almost a year later, Lisa felt a tightness in her abdomen.
"The pain got worse, and her abdomen was full of hot spots that meant the sarcomas were going again," Geraldine said.
"It was absolutely devastating. Our first granddaughter was born and things couldn't have been any better in our lives - Lisa had been given the all clear and the baby was due. Everything was exactly how we'd ever wanted it."
After some persistent encouragement, Lisa started writing the blog in 2016 to document what she was going through.
"We knew at this stage that there was no cure and she was terminal. She'd been through chemo and multiple surgeries," Geraldine said.
"We'd always been on at her to write her story and she'd always procrastinated, but she started - and it was the best thing she ever did," she said.
"Her reason for starting it was to allow her to put her thoughts on paper, but far more than that, she was getting messages of support from all around the world. People who were going through similar situations. When you're on morphine and steroids, you're still awake most of the night. So she would be talking to someone at 3am who was on the other side of the world in a similar situation. Nobody around you knows what it's like to be in that situation, so to make contact with somebody who does, it becomes a bit of a lifeline both for them and for you."
Despite her often sunny outlook, Geraldine said her daughter had a fear of death.
"And I believe it was the fear of death that kept her battling. We would have some difficult conversations - conversations you shouldn't be having with your daughter in relation to wills, what she wanted when she passed. All of those things that you would never think that you would have to speak to your children about," she said.
"But Lisa's theory was make hay while the sun shines. If she could have a half decent day, then she'd take advantage of that half decent day. She just made the most of every minute."
Two months before she died, Lisa's condition deteriorated further and came home to be with family.
"Other than her stomach - that was full of cancerous fluid - there was nothing left. She was 35 but looked like a 65 year old woman," Geraldine said.
"She was worried that when she went, no-one would remember her, and that she hadn't done anything with her life. But you know, she shouldn't have been here for the last 15 months because she was just a walking skeleton."
"Lisa had talked about turning the blog into a book, but by that stage, she was too far gone. So when Lisa was on her deathbed, I told her we'd turn it into a book and fulfil her legacy."
And when Lisa did pass, her death was mourned on TV, in magazines, and back in the family's homeland of Ireland.
"We were just blown away," Geraldine said.
"I still get a lot of private messages from people who are going through the terminal journey."
Geraldine hopes the book might be of help to someone, with all profits going to Dreams2live4 - an organisation that helps dreams come true for people with metastatic cancer.
"I told her I'd do it."
The book will be launched at the Regatta Hotel at Toowong on November 26, or to order, go to Terminally Fabulous