I'd like to send my best wishes to Kiri Allan and her friends and family and colleagues.
I think the tears in the Prime Minister’s eyes when she spoke about Kiri’s diagnosis this morning tells you everything you need to know.
This stage 3 cervical cancer diagnosis is a shock, and it's heart-breaking for her to go through this battle. Stage three is pretty serious stuff.
Kiri’s young. She’s only 37. She is an outstanding talent in the government. You’ll know what I mean if you saw any of the press conferences she fronted during the recent tsunami scare. Many people were impressed with her command of the event that day.
Kiri has for a very long time impressed the hardest-to-impress political watchers behind the scenes in Wellington. She was talked about for years as an up and coming political talent and she hasn’t failed to deliver at all.
She won a massive victory in East Coast on election night. She is the youngest cabinet minister this term. She was dealing with this and going for an ultrasound at the hospital on the day that she was handling the tsunami.
She has put a very long piece on her Facebook page. It’s a very personal account of what she was feeling in the lead up to the diagnoses. That she had back pain but put it down to too much travel during the campaign, that she then had difficulty sitting too long but took up running to shake it, that eventually she had her period for six weeks and was on GP-prescribed medication before she confided in Ayesha Verrall, the associate health minister who is a doctor, and she told Kiri to get seen to immediately.
And that is when they found a 3cm tumour, thought was it was benign, realised it was a 6cm tumour, thought it was benign, and then after more tests realised it wasn’t good.
Her message is get the smear ladies, and she’s absolutely right.
But even more than that, just don’t ignore stuff. It can be mildly embarrassing turning up at the GPs with something that is nothing, and it’s even more embarrassing if it happens more than once.
But being the worried well is a hell of a lot better than being the unworried sick, as my gp says.
So if it’s a niggle get it checked it out, but more importantly today, kia kaha Kiri.