8 Jan 19

By Dominic Byrne

Single Parent Getting After It

Someone asked me a few months ago, “when was the last time you cried?” I couldn’t recall. I’ve thought about it a lot and why it’s been so long. Not days, not months, perhaps decades. I’m not proud of it, I think it’s a little strange.

The last time I recall tears on my face were moments of victory, not sorrow.  Winning an under 21 world cup in South Africa, a world Australian sevens championship in Paris, even a schoolboy rugby premiership in my final year of school. All that effort, the months and months of perseverance, pain and grit, paying off in ultimate reward.  The top step on the podium.  These vivid memories of emotion for me are in the 1990s.  A long time ago. The only visible emotion I recall since then is the birth of my precious babies.

Noah, Louise, Evie and dom in Evies fourth birthday party

I haven’t cried throughout Lou’s cancer-rollercoaster, a cruel roller coaster where the tracks only descend into further depths of anguish. Louise has received perpetual bad news, week after week, and I haven’t felt the need to shed a tear.

In the last few months, I’ve envisaged tears, but in the event of a doctor informing us of a victory. This conversation seems to move further from our reach. I’ve always been so optimistic about Lou’s battle, she’s a warrior and warriors fight to the end and I’ve always anticipated the end is Lou on top of her podium. Even if it took years which I accepted as the reality.

I had no team success in club rugby. In fact, nine years of first grade and I never played in a grand final, semi-final or playoff game. I always thought my team could win any game on any given day though, always. Is this unrealistic optimism? Maybe. I don’t think so.

It was this ambitious thinking that would win us unlikely games, even against the best of the competition. At those moments in a game, well into the second half, down by 20 points, some of our own supporters already departed. The fight drained from teammates faces, you could see the loss-acceptance in their eyes. I still thought we could win.

The Byrne family on Evies fourth birthday

I would do anything to be the catalyst for turning the tide.  An intercept, line break, a damaging tackle, a try against all odds to close the deficit and push the optimism back into my player’s faces. I remember trying so hard. For every minute of every game.

I cried today.

A combination of seeing Lou so broken and hearing her doctor say that her situation has become extremely serious, deflated my confidence or even idealism of how this war was going to play out.   There is nothing I can do to shift the outcome of this game. With Lou in a delirious state, she hasn’t got the current mental or physical capacity to fight right now.

I’ve always thought Louise could win.

Lou has tried so hard. For the 600 odd days, she’s been aware of cancer in her body, she has given it her all. A disease doing everything in its power to take her from this world, she’s done everything asked of her, and more. Lou has tried to turn the tied and we’ve attempted everything in our control to help her.

les, noah, louise, lynda , dominic and evie, on evies fourth birthday party

Louise’s platelets keep dropping, even after blood transfusions. Physically her body isn’t working for her. She can’t walk alone. Her doctor said she has hypercalcemia. He referenced an “exploding tumour” due to her LDH levels dropping (which I think means the tumour growth and potency is rising uncontrollably).  Her haemoglobin is falling so oxygen isn’t moving around the body the way she needs it. Her body is failing to make the bone marrow needed to recover for any form or treatment. All of these issues are improbable to recoup from.

“It would take a miracle to turn things around.”

I feel so helpless. I want to turn the tide of this game. I want to cry in victory. I don’t want to tell Noah and Evie their mum didn’t win. I don’t want tears today.

Louise DeCelis and all the young ones at the table on Evies fourth birthday


  1. This isn’t a fair fight. I’m sorry this is happening to all of you. The village is sending all our love to you all.

  2. So deeply saddened and sorry to read this update, Dom. Thoughts and love are with you and the kids. xxx

  3. So deeply saddened and sorry to read this post, Dom. Thoughts and love are with you and the kids. xxx

  4. Thinking of you all. Thank you for keeping us updated on beautiful Lou and for being so honest.

  5. So deeply saddened and sorry to read this update, Dom. Thoughts and love are with you and the kids xx

  6. Louise, always know how much we all love you and we think about you constantly. I am praying that you have success from this treatment . I only wish I could take some of the pain and anguish for you. You continue to inspire me and you know I have always told you that you are my hero. You always will be..love Karen xxxx

  7. We are crying with you, Dom. And remember… Lou’s village is your Village.
    Much love and strength to you all xxx

  8. Dom, I’m a friend of Elysia’s – our boys are in the same class. We lost my father in law just six months ago in similar circumstances so this is all too fresh and familiar.

    Remind yourself – as hard as it is with all the pills and tubes etc – that this is not the real Lou. The real Lou is doing a million things – dancing, swimming, etc – in another world, not this one.

    She would never have made it this far without you – so hold on to that really important fact. She may have also been fighting this long for you, rather than herself. Knowing your idealism you’ve described above, she may need your blessing in order to feel ok about stopping the fight – if that is the decision made.

    Please know you are all constantly in our thoughts and prayers x

  9. Our prayers are with you and your family. I break down every few weeks on our TNBC journey in the States. If things are not progressing please speak to MD Anderson on new treatment options. We see a team of Dr’s on every visit and guided like you with genome biopsy’s.

    Thank you for your daily postings. She will win this!!

  10. To our dearest friends,

    We are walking with you. Cry your heart out. It’s a great medicine.

    Love Anna, Bear, Willy Wonks, Teddy & LLL

  11. Crying is good dom, let it out . It will release the toxins . Louise will be very proud of you and all your love . Take care with lots of love for you and your family . It was tough battle on all your family too take care . I am sure Louise will be watching over you in the stars . And you will forever be in her heart always . ❤️

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