Monday, April 25, 2011

The Tumour Tour

“Tara has a malignant brain tumour.”

These are not the words we were expecting at age 29, sitting in a doctor’s office with my wife. It’s hard to describe the feeling to someone who hasn’t been in the same situation. The room spins for a second, your heart drops into your bowels, and your first thought after a period of numbness is: “How long do we have until…?”

I can’t even begin to imagine the anguish that overtook Tara at the same point, but needless to say, it wasn’t good.

From there it was rushed trips to the hospital for surgery, scans, tubes, tears, heart monitors and consoling words. The urgency of the situation destroys your ability to sit back and think rationally about the best course of action, after all there is so much emotion involved in a life, especially the one you love the most. You rely on the doctors and their expertise.

After the operation it was straight to the radiologist’s offices. What course of treatment would she receive? It was here for the first time that we actually got a clear picture of what we could and couldn’t do. Chemotherapy or radiotherapy doesn’t necessarily prolong the life expectancy of a cancer patient with an oligoastrocytoma. The fact it was only a grade 2 tumour (4 being the worst), meant we had some time. We had months, if not years, if not decades to live with this thing. We had time to rethink and assess the situation and could research properly. We could defer any kind of invasive, poisonous treatment. Relatively speaking we were incredibly lucky. The doctors actually advised we simply take a “wait and see approach”, take our time. A true blessing.

At this point Tara threw herself into the internet, asked people’s advice, people who had cancer, people who have brain tumours, people who knew people who had cancer. Her mum had heard stories of people who had been cured of cancer. Every kind of snake oil treatment, ‘miracle cure’, anti-cancer book and herbal remedy was discussed. I tried my best to work as an objective and rational filter for these new age options.

My first reaction was let’s follow the doctors’ advice. But at some point, you just can’t listen. Two key things they said that didn’t sit well with any of us:
“There is nothing that can be done currently that will completely cure this disease. At some point it will take your life.”
"You don’t need to change your diet. You can just keep doing what you are now, western food is perfectly balanced.”


To be fair, doctors MUST be clinical. They cannot recommend anything that has not been unequivocally scientifically proven. They are not in the ‘hope’ business. They are in the repair business.
However, to anyone with a chronic ‘incurable’ disease, I would implore you to realise, yes, doctors are integral to your healing, they know more about the human body than most, but they are only one part of the picture. Nutrition, exercise, a positive outlook and general healthy living are just as, if not more important.

You have to eat. You have to eat everyday. You are what you eat. So why not put fuel into your body that will nurture your immune system, your natural defence against disease. Be balanced. Stay away from stress, exercise regularly. Worst case, you’ll feel better. Best case you’ll get better.
But. This blog is not here to preach. This blog is not here to offer a cure for cancer. If you need to know the best way to do this, then click here for some incredible books that can help.

Anti Cancer by Dr. David Servan-Schreiber
Healing the Gerson Way by Charlotte Gerson

This blog IS here to offer our story about what happened after that life-changing sentence was uttered to us.

We quit our jobs. We bought a ’94 Ford Transit, and we’re heading on a trip around the world, to heal Tara and to enjoy our existence. We are now officially ‘Loose in the Matrix’

Stop one is Western Australia. Stop two is Victoria. Stop three, Paris for Tara’s 30th. After that who knows. But I promise you it will be entertaining. So please check back in and enjoy the show.

Everyone is going to die. Life is a death sentence. Sometimes, it’s takes something drastic to have us to truly acknowledge our mortality and say, ‘you only live once, let’s make it a life worth living.’ So here’s to a happy life, with ups, downs and twist-arounds. It won’t all be roses. But it will be interesting. We are determined to make sure of that.

 - Tim 


  1. May all your dreams and hopes come true, and I know there are many, but that is how you have always lived, lots of goals, big ones and little ones, always conquered. What an amazing, eye opening journey to this point (30) and what a journey to come. Life is what you make and you guys make it a very special one for you and for all in your company. Enjoy! Please come visit again not in the too distant future. Love you lots. Eli

  2. Tim you've got style! On a wave, always rocking sick threads, as a musician, most recently with words in print, I dig it. But it is your lifestyle with which I am most impressed your kind and positive nature that keeps you and those around you constantly smiling as always but even brighter in trying times. This is self-evident in the choices that you and Tara have made to nourish your selves with the best that life has to offer through trust in family, friends, healthy food, good times and by taking chances rather than becoming complacent to a diagnosis. I aplaud and thank you for continuing to inspire and remind me of how to keep living the dream.
    Your right about life being a matrix and it's not always pritty but I feel that you have already found and taken that little blue pill after which there is no going back to A set way of life. if one were to author a travelers guide to living it up with beauty and style, I have to say you and Tara are making it happen.

    It's been too long and I miss the two of you.

  3. Hi there Tim and Tara,
    Our thoughts are with you in these trying times. Stay positive and happy travels, look forward to following your journey around the world. Mum said they are heading over to Europe to meet up with you at some stage, thats cool. Enjoy your travels and be safe, have lots of fun, and keep smiling.... Timmy, I remember your cute as smile as a little 2yr old when I first met your mum at playcentre, and watching you grow into a fine young man over the years, you do your parents proud....Good luck to you both...Peace Health and Much Happiness Luv Wendy & Don Blew

  4. Hi Tim & Tara

    What a wonderful thing you are doing - going out and living life to the fullest.

    Happy 30th Tara - have a fantastic day and a wonderful, wonderful trip.

    Luv Rae Kegs & Boys & Wilma & Harol xxxx