Coast woman's terrifying surgery leaves her without organs
FROM the moment Marie Chronopoulos was given the devastating news she'd been diagnosed with cancer, she instinctively knew she was going to beat it.
The Yeppoon woman spoke to the Capricorn Coast Mirror last week about her nine-year cancer journey and how it led her to write about her experiences in her first book, Dare to Choose.
In December 2014, Marie was facing a battle with her second round of Sarcoma, the first of which had almost taken her life, and had claimed her hipbone, lymph nodes and femur.
The second gave her zero chance of recovery and almost no time left if she didn't choose the lesser of all evils - to agree to a procedure which would take a third of her stomach, her pancreas, her bowel and bile duct, all of her gall bladder, and attempt to remove the tumour.
Her chances of survival without the procedure were zero, and with it - the odds were against her.
Taking the lessons from her first battle into what was confronting her now, Marie survived the operation to be on life support for more than four weeks whilst her body worked out how to function, and she could start to face the challenges of the 12 month recovery period.
With such strong will and determination, Marie is a perfect example of what's possible when you're faced with the impossible.
She knew she would one day have a success story to tell.
"To share with others and to help cheer them on through their journey no matter what adversities they are facing," she said of what made her want to pen her story.
"The experience has been very healing emotionally and I have found inspiration on so many different levels.
"I have certainly faced and conquered more fears than I have ever imagined I would, and sharing my story has been one of them."
Within four months of her second bout fighting the awful disease, Marie had returned to her gym addiction and to the career she loved - as a senior safety advisor in mining and construction, working FIFO rosters.
"Writing this book has reinforced how powerful we truly are," she said.
"I not only set out to make healthy choices and changes in my life to overcome a dreadful disease, I also achieved everything I choose to believe. I achieved my goals which ultimately helped me fulfil my dreams.
"I have learnt to never give up no matter what you are facing, I have grown into someone that I'm very proud to be, I am not afraid of being me or by myself.
"I am more grateful now than I have ever been because of this experience because of this journey. I choose to live life on my terms."
Launching her book at Lure Living on Friday, Marie had one simple message for readers of her story.
"I hope people will look at their own lives and look at the choices they are making and ask themselves are their choices serving them well?" she said. "I hope people will choose life whole heartedly. Most of us only get one chance in life.
With a strong connection to Capricorn Coast, Marie said the Yeppoon community had been her cheerleaders throughout her journey.