My Story is about My Mum, Teresa Leaper


This event took place from 10 December 2017 to 11 December 2017


The Discovery

My beautiful Mum worked at our local hospital and one day at work, she had a funny turn. She called me at work to let me know and asked me to bring her some pyjamas and toiletries after work because she thought they’d keep her in overnight. She told me not to leave work but as she was telling me that, I was logging off my computer and getting ready to leave. Mum had been unwell recently and she was undertaking some blood tests, etc and I just thought that if these range of tests could be done at the hospital then this would be a quicker way to get the results we needed.
I’ll never forget Mum’s friends, the faces of the Drs and Nurses she worked with and her friends crying and being devastated as her diagnosis became evident. At that stage, I didn’t realise the bleak outlook for those with pancreatic cancer. I thought Mum had a battle to fight but that she’d do it and then we’d continue on with our lives. After going home and searching through the internet, my eyes were opened.


This is My Story

Any other cancer and I would have backed my Mum to kick its butt. She was an incredibly strong, loving woman.
I’m grateful I was able to bring my Mum home to live with me and my family. That we got to spend so much time together- all hours of the day and night.
On the day she died, Mum was in so much pain. One of my daughter’s asked if she was going to die that day. I remember recoiling in shock. My siblings and I talked about what to do – should we take her to hospital, and how could we watch her suffer for another 5-7 months if it was going to be worse than what she was suffering. At about lunchtime, with my brother and I in the room, my Mum had a seizure and stopped breathing. We called 000 and I started CPR. While we’d had lots of discussions, I hadn’t spoken with Mum about whether she wanted to invoke a DNR because I thought we had more time. I was traumatised for a long time after that. I kept working on her until a number of Ambo’s arrived – many of them her friends. I’ll never forget one of them standing outside my house with tears streaming down her face. Mum had worked at the local hospital for almost 40 years so she was very well loved within that world. They transported Mum to hospital but we knew she was gone. Mum’s friends all got to come and say goodbye to her and share wonderful stories with us about how much she meant to them. I’ll always be grateful for that time because while we knew Mum was an amazing woman, it was wonderful to see that others knew how incredible she was. At 67 years young, one month after her diagnosis, our beautiful Mum was gone.


The Impact of Time

With Mum’s diagnosis, our world shrank to days, hours and sometimes minutes. We tracked mealtimes and medication times, sleep times.
My daughter planned her wedding quickly in the hopes her beloved Grandma would be there. She wasn’t and the wedding took place one month after she passed away, exactly two months after her diagnosis.
The gift of time, even though it was only a month, was that we really focused on our family. We have always been close and expressive in our love but we used this time to have some really important conversations and just appreciate the relationships we all had. Mum had been shocked when she was given the potential timeframe of 6-8 months to live. I’m grateful she didn’t realise it would be much less than that and I’m glad she didn’t suffer any longer than she did.