Wed, 7 Nov, 2018Basmah Qazi

The silent heartbreak behind this family photo

The silent heartbreak behind this family photo

Only four months ago, father-of-two Dominic Byrne decided to make his family life public through his and his wife Louise’s blog.

And the decision wasn’t meant for publicity, but rather, his wife’s triple negative breast cancer that she was diagnosed with over a year ago.

It was since that moment, that the lives of the couple took a dramatic turn. On an average day, Dominic would be seen riding his dirt bike in the hopes to get his heart racing, but now, he spends that time trying to find a cure to keep “the mother of my adorable little tin-lids alive and happy.”

The blog features over 30 blog posts – each written from the heart. When they laugh, we laugh, when they cry, we cry. But it was Dominic’s video entry that really grabbed everyone’s attention.

“Lou went back into hospital this afternoon. She didn’t want to go back in …”, he said as the exhaustion was visible on his face.

“I’m not sure where this puts us for her chemo round on Monday. We’ll see what the doctors say come Sunday … I mean they might as well put her in a torture chamber. It’s pretty much the same, same but different.”

Louise, who at the time was a 39-year-old mother to her two children, Noah and Evie, was diagnosed with the killer disease in June 2017. Then one month later, her chemotherapy sessions began, as everyone around her prayed that she would get better.

While the initial three rounds of chemotherapy reduced the size of the tumour in her left breast, it ended up fighting back as it grew in the next three rounds.

The Louise today has endured countless surprise trips to the hospital, a mastectomy, 24 sessions of radiotherapy and six sessions of oral chemotherapy, only for her to hear that none of the treatments proved to be effective.

It didn’t take long for her stage one cancer to grow to a stage four, and according to doctors, the cancer had spread throughout her body and to her bones.

Speaking to, Louise spoke about the moment she realised the treatment was failing her: “(It was) completely gut wrenchingly terrifying.

“Every time one fails, we get closer to the unimaginable. Plus, you know how much you have suffered through the treatments so that’s hard to get your hand around.”

But despite still undergoing chemotherapy, husband Dominic and Louise’s sister are currently on the hunt for answers overseas. Their first choice is US cancer expert Steven Rosenberg, alongside researching their options in Germany.

“I’ve never seen fighting as an option, it’s always just been a given that I need to do this and keep doing it until I am well,” said Louise.

“I am a genuinely positive person with a huge amount of energy, so that also helps both mentally and physically. I've found my ability to bounce backs is far greater than many. But as the disease progresses that gets harder.  There is also somewhere deep inside me that knows that it's not my time for cancer to take me yet.”

Now, Louise wants to pass over her inspiring attitude to other women who are dealing with cancer by starting a wellness movement called iCan which acts like an online community to help support women who are in the same situation as her.

“From diagnosis and beyond I want to share simple advice for living your best life after cancer,” she said.

“That begins with access to fitness, eating and getting their glow back. No bikini bodies and no depressing pamphlets and chat rooms. I want to create a new dialogue that your life is not over when you are living with cancer.”

But while it’s important to remain positive in such hard times, it isn’t enough, as now Louise and Dominic require financial assistance to help Louise live longer.

The couple have decided to run a fundraising night where proceeds will go directly into Louise’s treatment and daily expenses for the kids and Dominic. They also currently have a crowdfunding page going if you’re wanting to donate.

“Asking for money is something we'd never thought we would have to do but when friends realised the severity of our situation the decision was practically made for us,” Dominic said.

“Overseas treatment is our next move to keep Lou alive, the cost of this is upwards of $16,000 a week, let alone travel, relocation or living expenses. I'll sell all our belongings and homeschool the kids if it means they'll have their mother for another day.”

Visit Louise and Dominic’s blog here.