The Hidden Journey Melanoma Up Close and Personal

The Hidden Journey Melanoma Up Close and Personal

The Hidden Journey Melanoma Up Close and Personal

When Christine Lister learned her beloved husband, Rex, was diagnosed with melanoma, she was devastated. Her whole world, her idyllic retirement lifestyle was under threat. The Hidden Journey is Christine's story. Taken from her journals, this beautifully moving story allows us to see first hand the journey Christine and Rex took together. Christine's honest and open voice shines throughout this book. The unspoken fears and realities of living with cancer are laid bare taking the reader on an emotional roller coaster ride.

A passionate gardener, Christine's life seems mirrored by the seasons in her beautiful garden (lovingly referred to as 'Paradise'). We get the impression that Christine's garden is her saviour during the tough times. Despite Rex's initial resistence, Christine has a beautiful bay window installed overlooking their front garden. As the relentless intrusion of melanoma contracts their world, the window seat becomes an integral part of their journey where much of their living and healing takes place.

Although a sad story, The Hidden Journey is first and foremost a love story that moves with the natural cycle of life. Written mostly in diary format, Christine confides in the reader like a close friend revealing personal secrets.

Saturday 30/03/2001

'I'm a lady in waiting. I am marking time, waiting, praying, hoping. Rex is under threat. My whole way of life is threatened, suspended. The future is clouded, shrouded in mist. Time feels like my enemy...

I want to hide, lick my wounds, but I can't. I must keep my brave face on, my full-of-hope-and-confident face. Muscles tighten like screws, squeezing my skull, hardening my shoulders....'

Too often people who are touched by cancer suppress how they truly feel. Christine's raw and frank account of her journey during this time will hopefully pave the way for others to be true to their feelings, and provide insights and understanding for the wider public including the healing professions.

"I wrote this book to help others open up and share how they really feel when cancer invades their lives," says Christine. "Not talking about it can cause almost as much pain and heartache as the cancer itself. You can't be strong all the time. It's okay to be scared or sad at times, or to feel angry or frustrated or worried. That's human. Talking openly and honestly about cancer has been taboo for too long."

The Hidden Journey by Christine Lister is being published by Brolga Publishing and will be available from all good book stores from April 2009 for $24.99. Or you can go to to learn more.

The Hidden Journey Melanoma Up Close and Personal
Brolga Publishing
RRP: $24.99

What others have had to say about Christine's book:

"A heartfelt and honest weaving of loss and love with the simple, every day beauty of things around us that change and grow - and inspire us to do the same. This is a journey we can all learn from and helps us appreciate that the seasons of nature resonate with the seasons of our soul. Sunrise has become even more special for me..."
Brett Foster, BAFmedia

"This book is unique in both content and style. A very open, transparent and honest story that shares so many poignant moments in the lives of the author and her husband during the closing chapter of his life. Christine Lister's book, will, over time, provide solace and understanding for others.

This book is about life's layers and about the impact a terminal illness has on a profoundly deep relationship. Christine and Rex were fortunate to have such mutual affection and gain never-ending enjoyment from their immediate and private environment.

The power of cancer and its insidious and relentless intrusion into the lives of people as told here has enhanced my insight into how the author and her husband dealt with the day to day effect and hold the disease had on them.

The book gives invaluable information for people working in the health and healing professions. Too often we believe we understand and know what is happening in the lives of our patients and their families as they travel on such uncharted journeys. This story is a must read for anyone involved in the lives of others who are dealing with the unknown as their options for life quality and comfort diminish."
Carolyn Webster, Acting Manager Corporate Relations Workcover W.A.

The Hidden Journey is a deeply moving account of the cancer journey told through the eyes of a loving wife who accounts in detail the emotional roller coaster ride she and her husband experienced during the course of his illness with malignant melanoma. In this account Christine Lister bares all in a love story which is told against the background of the cycle of seasons in a much loved garden.

In her account Christine Lister articulates the raw emotions and challenges which they both faced and tells a story in a way that is seldom told in a published account. No doubt many who have been on the same journey will read these pages and recognise common elements. For those who care for cancer patients at a professional level, it provides some very personal insights which can help to shape our perspective. I will be recommending it to our trainee cancer doctors because insights like these have the power to alter the quality of our practices and the compassion which we bring to our work.
Jonathan Cebon MBBS, FRACP, PhD
Director, Medical Oncology Austin Health
Head Cancer Vaccine Laboratory, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research.
Professor of Medicine, University of Melbourne
NHMRC Practitioner Fellow

A key element of The Hidden Journey is its authenticity. In fact authenticity shines through on each page. This is real. It is reflected in the struggle, the detail, including etiology, treatment and symptoms. The complex range of emotions is authentic. This is what the journey Christine and Rex undertook was really like as it ebbed and flowed. The book is authentic because it is raw, it is honest, and it is open and transparent.

Another key feature of The Hidden Journey is the metaphor of opening a door or a window, exposing their journey as a couple with the struggle with melanoma. This was Christine's struggle, Rex's struggle and the struggle of those around them as well.

The story has a sense of flow, which helps the reader to both connect and learn. There is an informational flow as well as a roller coaster ride of emotions.

A big picture is provided for the reader in the way the book is set out and in the carefully designed footnotes which help the reader to answer questions, often as they are forming in their head.

The story highlights the importance of understanding and reflecting on catharsis and the powerful role of catalytic events in our lives.

Christine's notion of paradise brings paradox with it as well. The story of the journey undertaken by Christine and Rex is both about the present and the future. It is about certainty and uncertainty, fear and courage, Christine's needs and Rex's needs and none of these are compartmentalised into nicely understood neat boxes. They are present at the same time as paradoxes in our lives.

Finally, the relationship between the seasonal cycle and the human journey is incredibly powerful. It highlights and reflects at the same time, the ebb and flow of life, hope, blooming, growing and dying.

The Hidden Journey is a powerful piece of writing. I am much closer to it than a reader who doesn't know you, Rex or the journey that you both took. I still felt shaken, stirred and gained new knowledge about you and about myself.

David Anderson Hands-on Educational Consultancy

Once started, I could not put The Hidden Journey Down. Some parts made me laugh out loud, others I could not read through the tears. It is like amirror into life and the depth of feeling both joyously happy and supremelysad will keep it on your bedside table for reading and re-rereading.
Penni Tastula FAICD (ret)
NT Business Woman of the Year 1997

The Hidden Journey is Christine's story. It's a story of devotion and love, hopes and dreams, disappointments and anger. The Hidden Journey is also similar to mine. The Hidden Journey is probably similar, sadly, to many, many others. That's because the disease, Cancer, hits so many of us. From that initial moment when the doctor purses their mouth into a slow smile and the 'C' word spews out we are all beginning our own journey into the unknown. The patient has their battle ahead to fight and survive. The loved ones around them stand alongside doing and saying whatever they can to hold their world together. The road travelled can be lonely.

This story reveals the emotional minefield that becomes a part of a battle with Melanoma. It is revealed with honesty. Turn the pages and follow how Christine and her beloved Rex, not only battle the deadly disease itself, but also fight the demons of their own thoughts. However, it also reveals that the human spirit can rise above adversity and continue to grow, evolve and survive.

Go with Chris on her journey. If you are facing your own, already down the road or know of others who are getting ready to start, this story may help you understand it more.
Di Lester - Teacher/Librarian

An inspiring insight into how a partner copes with the impending roller coaster ride that comes along with a case of melanoma. There's more to the ride than the mechanics of it all, there's the emotions. The Hidden Journey is a fascinating story about all the up's and down's that will have you laughing, crying and realizing that you are not alone.

Priscilla Ashworth IBAS (Intelligent Bookkeeping and Accounting Solutions)

This book is written with love, honesty and recognition of the impact that living with cancer has on those involved. Daily routines overturned, the endless round of doctor and hospital appointments, optimism fighting to overcome underlying dread. The resilience of both Christine and Rex's love shines through, but the gritty reality is also explored in her journey towards acceptance.

This book will help many facing similar problems to accept that a huge range of emotions including fear, anger, and doubt are part of the road travelled in this journey, along with the tender moments that loving support supplies.
Kay Johnson