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The costs of isolation

Living in a remote area is something that is natural to me, as I have done so for most of my life. I currently live in (and grew up in) Katherine in the NT, 310 km south of Darwin. This year everything was great for my husband, our two young children and me until May when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. This was the first time in all my years living in the outback that I felt isolated.

My biggest challenge was having to travel to Darwin for all my treatment. Even for my diagnosis I had to travel to Darwin. My husband and I were too distraught to make the drive home and it was to become the first of many nights away from our children.

Overnight and day trips to Darwin are done without the children, but any longer and I insist that they come too which means a very increased price for accommodation.

Having my children around gives me strength and helps them comprehend my treatment, rather than mummy just going away and coming home sick.

I’m currently having chemotherapy treatment. Every three weeks my husband takes two days off work so we can go to Darwin for my treatment. The three to four hour drive home afterwards is horrible. I’m lucky my mum is able to care for my children while I go for treatment. At the end of the year, I will have to relocate to Darwin for my six weeks of radiotherapy; this is taking some planning not to disrupt our lives too much.

Besides the travel and cost of going to Darwin for treatment, I am truly blessed to live in this town. I have been completely overwhelmed by the support of numerous people who have helped us in so many ways.

Anne-Maree, NT