“Walking past people in the street who don’t know I have cancer, it made me feel like just another normal human being again” – Jill Golland
By Cancer Council NSW
Jill’s first sign of illness
In July 2017, Jill Golland was shocked when one day she tried to start writing a grocery list and suddenly her hand could not form the letters and her speech became slurred.
After going to the hospital, she found out she had had a small transient ischaemic attack (TIA).
“They treated the stroke and I recovered very well, almost instantly in fact,” Jill says.
However, later that year, Jill became increasingly weak and unwell. Feeling lethargic and unbalanced, she knew something was off and rushed to the doctors.
She was diagnosed with Cushing’s Syndrome, which causes a round face, weight gain and high blood pressure – which had caused the stroke. Jill said: “There is also always a tumour.”
A cancer diagnosis on top of her condition
A body scan showed that Jill had a very large malignant tumour on her right adrenal gland, meaning she had to undergo surgery to remove the tumour, as well as the entire gland. She also needed to have chemotherapy and take a medication called Mitotane.
“Sadly, the Mitotane did a lot of damage to the rest of my system, including peripheral neuralgia, liver damage and hepatitis, so I had to stop taking it,” Jill shares.
December 2019 was the two-year marker since Jill’s surgery and diagnosis, and she is now enjoying life with good health. The only medication she currently takes is hormone replacements for her adrenal glands, and she is still regularly monitored by her doctors. Now, feeling much improved, Jill enjoys giving back to her community and staying active with The March Charge.
Finding encouragement and showing support through The March Charge
Jill first learned about The March Charge through Facebook when she was in recovery and walking was already something she wanted to do. “The March Charge was a good way to motivate myself… and to raise money for cancer at the same time,” she says.
She greatly valued the support from her friends and family through the many donations they left on her page, but she also found comfort and motivation in the achievements of other participants.
“Cancer isn’t easy to talk about when you’re going through it and seeing the stories last year of other people who were going through or had gone through cancer really helped me,” Jill explains.
Jill also saw going on daily walks as an escape from her cancer battle, as well as a way to give back to her community.
She says, “everything changes when you get cancer. Doing The March Charge put me in another space that was away from all that… I was just another person sweating in activewear! That was quite comforting and made me feel human again.”
“For me, taking part in The March Charge was about committing not just for my own health but also for the broader, more global issue of cancer across the world,” she says, “I’m grateful for the experience of being a ‘March Charger’- proving that one person can make a difference and that every great journey does indeed begin with just one step.”