They thought they had cancer beaten. Now, it’s back – but rather than despair, this remarkable couple is telling their tale of life, love, family and the everyday beauty in between.
It was a rare night without the kids, and artist and film-maker Sarah Watt and her actor husband William McInnes, finding themselves reunited after weeks working apart, took the opportunity to have a quiet celebration together – in bed. The year was 2009 and, Sarah says, “Life was good.”
Her second movie, the romantic comedy My Year Without Sex, had just been released – while her first, Look Both Ways, also starring William and based on her personal battle with breast cancer, was continuing to garner widespread praise. Sarah, then 50, was looking forward to notching up her five-years-free-of-cancer milestone and reconnecting with her adored husband of 20 years.
“We had a lovely, energetic and happy reunion in which I hurt a rib,” is how she remembers that fateful day in her extraordinarily intimate new book, Worse Things Happen At Sea, co-written with William and released this week. “I will leave you to decide what activity we were enjoying at the time, but will confess there was an excellent bottle of duty-free champagne involved,” she writes.
“I clutched my side as we made jokes about our clumsiness, our weight, our middle-agedness. It hurt to laugh…” It was still hurting weeks later, when, Sarah says, “We tempted fate further and had a five-year-clear, happy-to-be-here party. But, like a poker player who doesn’t take the jackpot home, we had pushed our luck.” Sarah’s painful rib turned out to be secondary bone cancer. With its diagnosis came a terrifying prognosis. She had a life expectancy of 6-18 months without treatment, maybe double that with it.
Read more about the couple's incredible story in this week's Woman's Day on sale September 26, 2011.