Autumne Camidge, of Tweed Palliative Care, with Pam O'Shea and volunteer carer Shirley Williams.
Autumne Camidge, of Tweed Palliative Care, with Pam O'Shea and volunteer carer Shirley Williams. SCOTT POWICK

As she enters final chapter, Pam knows value of true care

CANCER has come for Tweed resident Pam O'Shea a few times and while she's managed to fight it off before, it's now only a question of when, not if.

It began in her breast and has spread to her bones and liver, causes fluid to flood her lungs and makes her short of breath.

She's unable to last more than two hours without her oxygen machine and can walk only about six metres before she needs help.

This means she's confined for the most part to two rooms in the Chinderah caravan she calls home.

"I don't worry about it (death)," she said, in her frail, gasping way.

"I just live day to day.

"I'm not ready to die."

The Murwillumbah-born woman raises funds twice a year for cancer research, but admits 2017 may be her last. When death is so close it forces someone to consider what's important and Mrs O'Shea is under no illusions: it's the little things, like her John Wayne DVDs, bingo, and each fleeting moment she shares with the man she loves.

"I have a husband," the 75-year-old said. "He gives me my food and water every morning - he works full-time, but he makes sure I have enough."

The other factor making sure the good continues to outweigh the bad and she wakes each day with the will to fight is the support she gets from Tweed Palliative Support.

"The help from TPS is very important," she said. "The personal carers take me up to the amenities block for my shower four days a week.

"Without them, my husband would have to stop work, it would be too much.."

Help wanted:

Tweed Palliative Support is calling for volunteers to join its annual training program. The only skills needed are friendliness and a will to help. Contact 02 6672 8459 or info@tweedpalliativesupport.com.au/ or info@wedgetailretreat.com.au/


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