Rae's Story

30 September 2019 by Lifetime in Stories, Insurance, Financial Planning, Health

Rae's Story

With a very saddened heart we are sharing this story on behalf of Raewyn Thomas, our Mortgage Adviser from the Wellington office. Raewyn has been delivered the most devastating news possible, that she has lung cancer and its terminal with a very shortened life expectancy. 

This is Rae’s story that we are sharing with her permission.


It was never my intention to leave a job that was the love of my life so very suddenly. It came as such a shock to me as it must have been to many of you. I feel I would like to let you all know in my words what happened.

Basically I went to work one day as usual, my x-ray results came in that day and the following day I got the results of my CAT scan, a bit of a double blow of bad news. The CAT scan result confirmed I had lesions, tumours and cancer in both lungs, with the doctor telling me that he did not think it was treatable. I asked him to give it to me straight and tell me how much time I had left, and he told me he thought it would be about three months.

This came as a deep shock for me and for my wonderful family. They just tipped me into my home and have never left my side. My three adult children, their partners and my grandchildren have been with me every hour of every day. The next blow occurred at Wellington Hospital where I was waiting for a specialist’s appointment. While sitting with a coffee in the café area I had a stroke which left me unable to speak or move the right side of my body.

My sons happened to be speaking to me at the time and noticed something was wrong, one attempted to get me to hold onto a necklace I was wearing and when I couldn’t hold onto it he immediately ran and got two nurses to come over and see to me. My sons stayed with me and supported me while the nurses looked me over. An extremely quick response brought the stroke team and a number of the best stroke specialists in the country who just happened to be in the hospital at that time of the day.

I was taken to ED, examined and put straight into an operation to remove a blood clot in my brain which luckily brought back my speech and movement. If I wasn’t at the hospital it is likely my recovery would not have been so miraculous which all the doctors said it was. I am having some treatment which I guess at this stage is mostly palliative care.

I personally am furious at this cancer which has spread so aggressively, I am also hurt and devastated that I will only be here for a short while now and will be gone from my sons, daughter and grandchildren. I have always been in control of everything, but not this. Actually, this cancer started aggressively invading my body three months ago so that too is a surprise.

I have had the privilege of planning my own funeral, what fun this has been with all the kids sitting with me belting out all my favourite songs which was hysterical. I have warned them to get it right soon as we will have a dress rehearsal with me in my box peeking out to make sure it’s done right.

We have made some light out of this cruel and unfair cancer. I wanted to share this side of things with you all while I can. Where to from here? The three months has quickly become two, however some brilliant lung specialists have some options that we are looking into but until these results come in, they have been doing their best to make me more comfortable.

I have been so cared for by my Lifetime team. Oh my gosh I got the news that Fiona from Christchurch donated a sick day to help me and now others have as well. I just don’t know what to say except I am so humbled and thankful, what a company of amazing people. I would need to live until April next year receiving my ongoing salary as a result of all the donated sick days! That has just been such an act of kindness and has completely eased any financial concerns I may have had. I want people to know what a fantastic Company Lifetime is, how well they have looked after me and what wonderful people make up the team. It’s been like a family to me and I have loved every moment. I am so glad I have been part of Lifetime and have had so many wonderful memories, I felt so valued being part of this work family.

To my wonderful mortgage clients who I feel I am deserting, I have so enjoyed working with every one of you, your children, sisters, brothers and friends. So many great people. It’s been a pleasure working with you all.

Thanks again everyone for your kindness. To everyone across the country, I so appreciate your thoughts, my tears keep welling up with every lovely gesture.

My final word of warning “be very careful before cancelling any insurances – unbelievably I cancelled my life cover just three months ago!!”

Love Rae…

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