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Both diagnosed with cancer, Eden and Elizabeth had never met before their diagnoses landed them both in Auckland hospital in 2014. The chemotherapy and radiation left them nauseous, losing their hair and unsure if they would live at the end of it all. With all this going on, neither were keen when CanTeen invited them to a hospital hangout. But both decided to go. It was a combination of wanting to escape the reality of what they were going through and the persistence of CanTeen staff encouraging them to join in. It was there they first met.
Finding people that get what you’ve been through is one of the most valuable things CanTeeners say CanTeen has given them, and for Eden and Elizabeth, this was exactly it. They were each other’s peer support. Having someone to talk through the good and bad times helped them both get through cancer and even today through life. Struggles of treatment, their relationships with family and friends and how that had changed, how they’re trying to get back to normal life, and just their life after cancer.
When they were diagnosed, both their families were supportive but still there were some things they just couldn’t share with them. Pity is one thing they both got lots of because of cancer, when all they really wanted was someone to listen to them and understand. They were that someone for each other. They talked about their hair loss, the side effects of the different drugs, the nurses and doctors that helped them, what they were missing out from being in hospital and more. They essentially shared their lives with each other and in doing so kept each other strong, determined to get through cancer and all that it threw at them, together. Their motivation to do and continue treatment especially when the pain was at its highest were their families, but it was each other and CanTeen that gave them the strength to keep going knowing that ‘we got this’.
In a time with loneliness, isolation and uncertainties, you need support to get through and Eden and Elizabeth found that through each other. They encouraged each other, laughing together, crying together sharing their highs and lows, knowing that cancer couldn’t break them, because they got what the other was going through.
Elizabeth and Eden together have learnt lots through their cancer journey and have gained a new perspective on life. Losing their independence, losing control of their body and health, losing friends and much more; they gained a new appreciation and love for life. Going through something like cancer changed them, and whilst they found it hard to relate with their peers, in CanTeen and with each other they found a home where they could grow, become stronger free of judgment.
Eden & Elizabeth - Auckland