Meet 21-year-old medical student Tessa Calder, who was recently diagnosed with metastatic medulloblastoma (tumour of the cerebellum).
The witty fourth-year medical student, from Australia, has been entertaining family, friends, and her fellow patients with a series of amusing photos, where she dresses up and poses with her newest friend — an IV pole. Here she is as Gandalf:
It all started with a comment from her father. Tessa explained to ABC News: “I had a window and you could sort of look up to the second floor where it was just like a glass corridor — and these patients would walk by in their white hospital gowns with their IV poles and Dad was just trying to make me laugh: ‘Oh look, Tessa, there’s the Pope! There he is again, there’s so many popes!'”
“I had time on my hands so I got some paper and made a pope hat and I think people thought I was absolutely ridiculous — I got some very weird looks!” Tessa shared the photo to Facebook with a caption that said:
“Everybody meet Francis, the IV pole. We’re joined at the hip (well actually the chest to be anatomically correct) and he’s very pope-ly. I know that word should probably be papal but pope-ly just sounds so much better. Disclaimer: does not include bullet-proof vehicle. But Francis is very mobile (see what I did there?)”
Predictably, her photo attracted hundreds of likes and comments from friends, encouraging Tessa to share more photos of her adventures with “Francis”.
Since then, she has transformed her IV pole into Gandalf’s staff, Harry Potter’s broomstick and a set of beer taps for Oktoberfest.
“My roommate was going through some tough times so I showed her the photos and it kind of cheered me up as well, it was just something to do,” Tessa said.
“If it brought a smile to someone’s face, even if they’re not sick … I think the more positive and light-hearted things on social media the better.”
Tessa said her friends and family have been joining in on the fun: “It’s just been great because my friends have been visiting and we talk about these things and then get an idea going and one of them will say ‘oh I’ve got a hat I can bring in’ or just you know, little bits and pieces,” she said.
“My friends and family really have been the best medicine. They’ve stuck by me and it’s been tough for them too, but they make me laugh and smile and forget about the yucky stuff.”