A woman has shared her heartbreak of being forced to fight her aggressive cancer battle alone while her husband is stranded on the other wide of the world due to coronavirus border closures.
Juliet Wilson is in the fight of her life after she was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer on New Year’s Eve, which has since spread to her lymph nodes.
On top of her cancer battle and chemotherapy treatment, the Melbourne woman is desperate to be reunited with her husband David Macneill, who is stranded in Canada.
Despite being fully vaccinated and booked to fly to Australia within days, the federal government has rejected countless applications to allow him to entry the country on compassionate grounds.
Ms Wilson will undergo a double mastectomy and surgery to remove her lymph nodes next month and will be unable to use her arms for up to six weeks afterwards.
She requires a full-time carer and broke down in tears at the prospect of going through post-operation recovery alone.
Juliet Wilson (right) is desperate to have her husband David Macneill (left) by her side as she battles an aggressive breast cancer
‘It has been difficult enough dealing with chemotherapy by myself, the days I can’t stand up or have to crawl upstairs to get to the bathroom’ Ms Wilson told A Current Affair.
‘The idea, that I was facing recovery from my surgery without David here was horrific.
‘I won’t actually be able to lift my arms, so being able to get myself dressed, shower, prepare food – even go and do the shopping won’t be possible, and I’m going to need someone to look after me full-time.’
The couple recently had their fourth application rejected, despite tying the knot in an online wedding ceremony in May and providing pages of evidence such as records of shared finances and wills naming each other as the beneficiary.
Ms Wilson explained that the moment she learnt her husband couldn’t come to Australia was ‘the day that nearly broke her’.
International borders have been closed since March 2020, making it exceptionally difficult for even Australian citizens to fly home, made even worse by the recent slashing of arrival caps.
Meanwhile Mr Macneill is desperate to be at his wife’s side.
Juliet Wilson is distraught at the prospect of not having her husband by her side when she undergoes surgery next month
‘I want to be there, and we’re trying to do everything we can to make that happen but it just seems like we’re hitting roadblocks every on every turn,’ he told the program.
‘Juliet doesn’t need this, going through the chemo that she’s going through now, let alone the surgery that she’s going to have to face alone.
‘It’s breaking my heart.’
Time is running out for Mr Macneill to be given the green light to enter Australia next week with the flight booked for July 12.
He also has to undergo two weeks of quarantine before he can be reunited with his wife.
‘Some of the prices are gone anywhere from $5,000-$35,000 for an economy class ticket to Melbourne,’ he said.
‘So, at this point, if I don’t, if I’m not able to make it on the 12th, then I’m not going to be able to make it.
‘Regardless of whether they want to honour the marriage or think it’s legit or not, it’s really not about that – it’s about me going down there to take care of the person that I love. She has no one down there.’
Juliet Wilson has undergone five months of chemotherapy treatment (pictured) since her diagnosis on New Year’s Eve
Ms Wilson’s world was turned upside down when she got the devastating diagnosis last December.
‘It felt like my heart was like a glass hitting the tiles, and the pieces just went any way, and for a couple of weeks I couldn’t even say the word ‘cancer’ out loud,’ she said.
She grew up in Canada but is now an Australian citizen who has lived here for almost 20 years.
The couple have known each other since the late 1980s when they were growing up on Canada’s east coast.
They became close friends when they reconnected five years ago and fell in love two years ago while Juliet was back in Canada visiting.
Ms Macneill came to Australia to visit Ms Wilson in early 2020 before the pandemic hit but hasn’t seen her in over a year.
Ms Wilson remains hopeful her husband will be granted an exemption to enter Australia
Friends have set of a Change.org petition campaigning for the Department of Home Affairs to grant Mr Macneill a travel exemption on compassionate grounds.
The online petition was already garnered almost 5,000 signatures.
‘Juliet does not have anyone who can move in and care for her during her 4-6 week recovery,’ the petition states.
‘As well, due to the significant permanent change to her body, and personal nature of her post-op care, her husband is the only person suitable to provide this support she will need as she confronts the physical and emotional effects of her surgery, and the rest of her treatment.
The Australian Border Force has contacted Ms Wilson to seek additional information and continues to assess the exemption application.
A spokesperson said immediate family members of Australian citizens and permanent residents are exempt from the travel restrictions and can enter Australia.
‘This includes spouses and de facto partners of Australian citizens or permanent residents,’ they said.
‘The ABF has reached out to the couple requesting they provide further information to help with their application.’
David Macneill (left) fears he won’t be able to be there for his wife (right) unless a travel exemption is granted within days