Yeppoon couple's small reprieve in heartbreaking diagnosis
SIDE by side on their 60-acre lifestyle block in The Caves, Helen and Graham Hansen wanted for nothing.
Graham, a confident and capable business owner, Helen in a senior management role, the couple never envisioned the devastating blow soon to consume them.
But few things put life in perspective like knowing when your time is up.
For Graham, it is a matter of one month.
Diagnosed with a terminal blood cancer five years ago, the beloved husband, father and adventurer has made frequent trips to and from specialist appointments in Brisbane with his wife turned full-time carer.
As Graham nears the end of his 68 years, Helen, aged 52, said it's the small things have made the biggest difference.
Since she quit her job 12 months ago, Helen said the bills begin to stack up, but the Rockhampton Airport's Patient Car Park Waiver for those travelling to specialist medical appointments has been a godsend.
"As an able-bodied person, until you are caring for someone with an illness or disability, it's those simple things that can be the elephant in the room,” she said.
"Dealing with the medical system, going to and from specialist appointments.”
Helen said they would often meet friends at the airport travelling for appointments and loved to share their experiences.
She explained many people in similar situations as herself had to drop out of the workforce to become carers, which made income tight and every dollar count.
"I just can't thank the (airport) staff enough, they never questioned you they made it such an uncomplicated exercise to pop your ticket in the machine and give you the ticket to exit.”
Helen said the 12-and-a-half years her and Graham had shared were about "enjoying the simple things in life, and enjoying family”; for the Hansens, this includes a blended family of five adult children.
Helen said her husband's health "took a nosedive” in June, but her friends, family and Yeppoon neighbours.
"It is a journey; it is a journey for the individual who is facing their own end for want of a better perspective, and loved ones around them, and letting go and acknowledging you have to say those words, 'it's okay to go, it's okay to go'.”