The Room Xchange can work for many life scenarios. The one that stands out for me the most could be a great support system for many people. It's a journey that I've personally gone through, so I have first hand knowledge of how helpful it would have been for me at that time.
Hi, I'm Ludwina Dautovic, the Founder and CEO of The Room Xchange. In June 2010, out of the blue, I was diagnosed with a 14cm tumor on my kidney. I didn't have any symptoms of being sick as my other kidney had taken over its function. It was only because the tumor had grown so large, that I knew there was something wrong as it was pushing against my back and causing me back pain.
I was on a business trip launching an event in Perth at the time. I called my husband when I received the diagnosis and flew home the next day. I didn’t know if I was going to live or die. Thankfully, we have an incredible medical system here in Australia. My GP sent me to a specialist who was able to see me immediately and was sent for a series of scans. I was told that if it had spread outside of my kidney it would be terminal. If it contained itself on the kidney he might be able to remove it in its entirety. However, there was a risk I might not survive the surgery.
I survived the surgery and am now ten years cancer free.
I had four surgeons operating on me for seven hours. They saved my life and for that I'm grateful. However, my body was traumatised and I had a massive journey of recovery ahead of me.
The following year my internal organs started pushing through my scar and I had to have a repair surgery. They cut me open, put mesh inside to hold it in and stitched me up again. The same thing happened the next year and I had the same repair surgery again.
Because I was technically healed of cancer I didn’t qualify for any follow up support, counselling or at home care. This made the entire process incredibly difficult and not just for me, but my husband as well. He had so much pressure on him. We went from two incomes down to one. He had to take me to and from my medical appointments and all the domestic work was now on him. Upon reflection, I don’t know how he did it. I’m eternally grateful for how he held it together and was able to manage all the required work regardless.
Had The Room Xchange been around back then, it would've been a different story. Having someone stay with us for a few months while I was recovering would have made such a huge difference. Harry could've had help with cooking meals, taking me to some of my doctor's appointments or even company and support for him. We're not talking about medical support or nursing, just home help and emotional support.
I haven’t written or spoken publicly about my journey with cancer as yet. It’s still very raw for me. Up until last year I was still having annual scans to see if it had come back. Thankfully my urologist has fired me (I say with a smile). He doesn’t feel there’s any need to put me through the annual trauma and anxiety of having scans again.
According to the Cancer Council there will be approximately 150,000 new cases of cancer diagnosed in 2020. Their website says of loved ones coping with the diagnosis "Cancer is difficult for everyone it affects. Your family needs to adjust to the diagnosis too. Family members may experience stress as roles change and they learn to adapt and cope."
The Room Xchange is a great opportunity to take the pressure off while you’re recovering. It also gives someone the opportunity to contribute to your life while you’re contributing to theirs. I couldn’t think of a better way to utilise this great platform than to make a very difficult time so much easier.
If you're recovering from cancer and would like some help, we are offering hosts free use of the platform right now. Once you have completed your profile, we'll send you a promotional code. Just be clear of your circumstances when you're creating your profile as it will help to attract the right kind of guest. It also makes it easier to talk about if they understand the circumstance up front.
If you’re part of an organisation supporting people who are going through cancer and your members are asking for in-house support, we’d love to hear from you. We are now launching an enterprise model that will allow you to have your own Xchange portal on our platform. You can have hosts and guests within your community support each other through challenging times. To find out more email: email@example.com.
Thank you for listening to my story. I think stories are powerful and the more we share them, the more we know we're not alone.
Do you have an idea on how The Room Xchange can change the way you live? We’d love to hear about it. Please join our private Facebook group - Xchange Revolution, follow our Facebook page and listen to our Podcast.
Article by Ludwina Dautovic
CEO and Founder, The Room Xchange