You’re a Mum of three children, how old are they and what is one thing you adore about each of them.
Bodhi is 4 and she is my rainbow child after loosing Phoenix at 16 weeks pregnant with him. She was meant to be here! She is bold, fierce, dramatic and brave. She has the attitude of an 18 year old sometimes. I wonder how much trouble I’m in for in the future.
Arnhem is 1.5 and was oppsie daisy baby.. But oh boy does he complete the puzzle. He was always part of our family plan, I just didn’t know it. I adore his chubby butt haha. He is just so funny and full of cuddles.
I ask all my Mum’s this, what is one thing about being a Mum that drives you bonkers?
You’re a dance teacher and run your own dance school which you have converted to an online platform for the time being.
Can you share with us a bit about your dancing background and how it led to you opening your own school?
I spent 8 years in Europe traveling, dancing and met the love of my life, a young Swedish Boy. An offer came in from Australia to teach at the prestigious Brent Street Studios. I said yes straight away and we came to Sydney to start our new married life.
In Sydney I had Teo and struggled with my family living on the Gold Coast, I had massive FOMO![Fear of missing out for those of you not up with the lingo). So we decided to move back home to sunny Queensland. When we first moved, I thought I’d try an “adult” job for awhile and maybe just teach one class here and there to keep my love of teaching going. After one month, my little class grew from 2 students to 100! By the end of that year I had 300 students!
Teaching really is my passion, its something that I’m good at, I could never do anything else. Tahnee and The Treehouse was born in 2013 with the idea to have a Treehouse for kids where anything is possible. A place where kids can be what ever they want to be, that is my ethos for the school and my teaching style. I wanted a performing arts school with a difference, where all the normal old school ways were thrown in the bin! A new way was paved with creativity, nurturing, love and above all FUN and laughter.
Lets address the elephant in the room. You have a tumour “cuddling” your heart and lungs who you have named Marilyn. You admitted yourself to hospital because of the pain as you thought you were having a heart attack. Can you tell us about the lead up to your diagnosis?
Something was off I thought, but like all Mum’s I put it to the back of my list. I’ll check it out when I have time. Then a few weeks later it came back again, this time much more painful and it felt like it was moving. At night the pain was worse and I couldn’t sleep or get into a comfortable position. I felt as if something had poisoned me and it was in my blood and moving through my upper body and neck.
I said to mum in tears, I can’t live like this! I went to the doctor who ordered blood tests and a CT Scan. It all came back good. He told me to rest and take some time off work. The pain was now in my neck, back and chest. I couldn’t handle it!
It would go away for a week or two, then come back again. One day I went to work, taking pain killers every 4 hours and came home slept all afternoon. I thought I may be coming down with a fever. COVID-19 had just started to arrive in Australia. My fever reached 40. I went to bed a 6 pm with Panadol and had the worst night sleep with the high fever, heart palpitations and sweat all night so much I had to change clothes. First thing in the morning I took myself to the hospital, I thought I had COVID! As soon as I went in to the bed, my heart began to hurt so bad they thought I was in cardiac arrest! I was put on morphine and on a heart monitor. My heart was fine, so they sent me for X-rays. It was here they noticed something strange, so further testing was arrange. The CT revealed a mass, and a large one. The poor nurse who had to come a deliver the news, I’ll never forget her face and compassion in telling me they found something that shouldn’t be there.
They quickly moved me to another area and more testing was planned to find out what it was. The next part is a blur. After the PET Scan, bone marrow and thousands of blood tests I was finally sent home to see my kids!! And await the results.
It was 24 hours later a doctor rang me and told me it was Lymphoma. And it was big! I had to go back to hospital asap and begin chemo. The next day we checked in and begun my journey to recovery and complete Cancer Free Diagnosis, I wont settle for anything else 🙂
Can you tell us about Marilyn and your treatment plan?
On that first night in hospital, I was lying in bed scrolling through FB and Insta and someone sent me a page to follow, Its Not Kates Time. I had a look and immediately felt this bright light in that dark hospital room. She was a beacon of hope, and I cried at all her posts. It was the first time I thought I could be ok. Then I thought I’m a people person, I love interacting and telling stories, I’d tell mine too. So I started the igot_this_mumma page.
The name Marilyn came about as I didn’t want want to use the word cancer and mass, they sound so scary. I often give names to things when I teach so it was natural for me to name my Mass. Marilyn the Mass just popped into my head and the minute it did, it fit. It took away the fear, the mass now sounded beautiful, enchanting and fun! I also wanted to have something to visualise and I didn’t find thinking of a disgusting tumor very fun haha. I often talk to her and say, thank you for the wake up call, but I have no need for you now. Its time to go.. And when I feel some pain, I know its her singing and begging to stay, but she is slowly dying.
I have 6 rounds of chemo and immunotherapy. Depending on the results there could be radiation which I’m hoping to avoid. I have a gut feeling she’ll be gone at my next PET scan.
From reading your posts it seems each of your children are coping in their own way.
To the Mum who has just found out she has cancer and has to tell her children, what advice can you give her?
They are smarter, feel and sense more than we give them credit for. I’ve had numerous experiences with my 1.5 year old who can’t communicate but shows me he understands in the most beautiful loving way.
Don’t try to hide anything from them, they know you are hiding and they will be anxious.
And most importantly, one day at a time. I’ve slowly eased them into my situation and allowed them to be part of the decision like shaving my head, that was FUN!! And they tell me it was the best day ever.
Do you want to flick the next person in the forehead who tells you in order to look after yourself better you simply need to eat healthier and go for a walk?
We know this, but sometimes our life circumstances simply don't allow for this. Hell going for a walk and actually eating something that resembled a home cooked meal would be on par with winning the lotto in your present circumstances.
That's why I developed this e-book that is ready for you to download right now!
10 Self Care Strategies you can implement right now e-book.
It seems that in the space of a month, your life has changed dramatically.
You mentioned that you didn’t expect the down days to be quite so “deep”. Can you tell us about that and any advice for other Mum’s facing a similar situation?
There have been other times too when I realised how much I have suppressed to just keep on getting by. I’ve allowed myself a really good cry many times. In these moments I’ve begun to realise how much I’ve neglected myself. I found these beautiful bracelets my mum had made for her book launch. BKTYH was embossed on them which was the message in her book, Be Kind To Your Human.
It made me cry because I haven’t been kind to her at all! Being a Mum you put everyone else first, and I put my students before me all 400 of them! I had been awful to my human! Telling her she isn’t good enough, suppressed her, punished her, silenced her, put enormous amounts of pressure on her to be perfect. The list goes on. I truly believe this self destructing path has led me to this diagnosis. However I have decided to change that!
I am no longer a Mum with NHL (Non Hodgkin Lymphoma) I’m a Tahnee with SCFBL Second Chance For Better Life!!
Do you worry about losing Tahnee and being treated as “the woman/Mum with cancer?"
The way you dealt with losing your hair is just awesome. I love the idea of the glitter but I have to know, from one Mum to another… Are you still finding glitter in places you didn't know you had?
Who is #tahneesarmy?
An army of Mums, Dads, Nans and Pops Aunties and Uncles. Tahnee’s army are the best humans in my world. One of the Mums came up with the name and they made a secret group on FB.
They are like a militant group organising secret operations that totally take my breath away and make me feel so unbelievably loved and supported.
They surprised me with making a TikTok video all dressed in T-shirts that had #tahneesarmy printed on them, and used Instagram stories at 8pm on one night all at the same time, my phone was pinging and going mad!
It started with small surprises and now moving on to big things. They want to make a difference in the world, everyone needs a Tahnee’s army! We want to find a way to make sure everyone going through this has an army behind them. It breaks my heart to hear of young children being diagnosed. We hope that somehow we can help them too. Stay tuned…
Has it helped you to connect with other Mum’s who are undergoing treatment for cancer?
Is there anything else you would like to share?
I beg you, BKTYH! Listen to her, love her, put her first every now and then, and never silence or suppress her! If you feel something isn’t right, don’t be afraid to get it checked out.
And lastly, put music on everyday and dance!
All the links
So how EXACTLY does the
Mummy Matcher Service help you?
What You Gain
Talk to other Mum’s in similar situations while you’re at home, sitting in the waiting room for appointments, in hospital or even in the car!
Have a conversation with someone who you don’t have to explain the little things to because they already GET IT.
Be part of a community of women who have also faced adversity and like you, are seeking connection.
What You Reduce
No longer be alone during your journey on this daunting, unexpected and what can at times be a scary as hell road.
No longer feel like you are the only person in the world who’s motherhood journey isn’t turning out how you thought it would.
Find women you can actually connect with. Women you can nurture and build a real friendship with.