The Woman who refused to take no for an answer
Written by Jo Duff (transcript of interview with Julie Randall)
Author Julie Randall faced aggressive terminal cancer in the face, and although she may have been frightened, she chose to stare down the big C and say “Not yet”.
Just four days after her fiftieth birthday celebrations, Julie Randall suffered a very sudden and severe seizure at work. Out of the blue, she went from a fit, healthy, fun-loving wife and mother, to not knowing what had happened. Or why. Julie was rushed to hospital where it was discovered she had a malignant brain tumour. Diagnosed with Stage 4 Metastatic Advanced Melanoma, she was told to get her affairs in order because she didn’t have long to live.
Her world fell apart, but not for long. There wasn’t time, and she made a promise to her daughters that she would live. Julie then embarked on a crusade to find a treatment that would work and became Patient 71.
Julie Randall is an open book when it comes to her story, sharing it with the public to give hope, inspiration, and some much-needed laughs to women who are fighting the same battle.
When you were going through treatment and had down days, what were the things you did to pull yourself out of the darkness? Or did you just push through each day?
Some days were push and some days were pull. On the down days, I would sit for a while, give myself a stern talking to and move forward. I kept fit and healthy and stuck to a strict diet. I worked hard to train my mind to focus on living. I made a mood board about my future and stared at it every day believing I would be in that future for a long time to come. I certainly wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows every day, but having these tools helped me overcome the dark days quicker.
Do you feel that cancer robbed you temporarily of feeling like a woman? Do you have any self-care tips to women who may be going through treatment?
Yes, I did. If it isn’t bad enough that you are given a death sentence, you then lose your looks and your femininity as well. It’s cruel beyond measure, but as they say ‘It is what it is!’ So, you just have to get through it the best way you can.
Exercise is incredibly important. You need those endorphins running through your veins! Yoga and meditation were also vital to my wellbeing. You may think sitting still with a clear mind is impossible when you are going through something as traumatic as a cancer diagnosis, but, just sit, close your eyes and breathe deeply for 10 minutes imagining your cells in perfect harmony. Don’t fight against your own body. Keep reminding yourself that your hair will grow back in time. Mine is now longer than my husband’s, which was one of my goals!
You are proof to every Australian woman over 40 that whatever is thrown at you, no matter how bad, it can get better and it can turn around. What are the common themes and stories you hear from other Australian women?
I’ve heard from all kinds of women who are in the dealing not just cancer, but divorce, financial hardship and family pressures such as caring for a relative or child. I believe that great women always turn pain into power. There is always a lesson to be learned through suffering, and I’ve witnessed so many women help each other walk that journey and come out the other side.
Do you ever feel conflicted when you think about becoming such a positive inspiration to people and making a difference by sharing your personal story, considering you had to go through hell and back and share such a tough time in your life?
Great question. Yes, I absolutely do. I had to think long and hard about sharing my story publicly. It wasn’t just my emotions that needed to be considered. I had to think about those of my husband and children who had been on the ride to hell and back with me. But, there was a nagging voice in my head that said it was my responsibility, almost my civic duty, to share my story and offer hope and inspiration to those who needed it. When I sat the family down and explained that to them, they were very supportive and really proud of me for taking that path.
They are three amazing humans.
How will you keep making a difference in 2018?
My motto is LAUGH, LIVE & GIVE so I will be doing plenty of that this year. I will also be investing time in mentoring those who need support to stay on track with their goals, whatever they may be. I also hope to connect with Maga readers and women facing a similar battle too!
Watch Julie’s 60 Minutes Interview HERE
Patient 71 is available in Kindle and paperback from Amazon.com.au
Interview conducted and written by Jo-Ann Duff
This article first appeared in the Maga Woman Magazine. You can read more articles like this by subscribing HERE