From first diagnosis my wife Keri and I promised to approach life as normally as possible with me continuing to work, walk and swim as able however, by March this year that was no longer possible. The initial treatment had arrested growths that I had on my spine, behind the eye, my right buttock, lungs and ribs. However, I’d subsequently learnt what was happening is that the blood supply to those sites had reduced and the cancer had mutated, setting up camp in other areas of the body, in my case the small bowel and gallbladder.
Fast forward to June 2020 and under normal circumstances there may have been a few trial treatments available for me to try but COVID meant many of the trials were shut down for safety reasons. There was one possible trial available but the prerequisites to qualify meant that they had to take a biopsy of the cancer and the location of my cancers meant that was deemed too risky as it could accelerate the spread.
I was also suffering from excruciating pain. Doctors thought the gallbladder was the cause and by this stage pain management was a real challenge. At the worst, I was unable to talk, could barely walk and had lost nearly all cognition. One day I asked Keri to get the cat and dog to stop chasing each other around the apartment…we don’t have a cat or dog… Hallucinations and constant vomiting were the low point.
The pain got worse and my condition quickly declined. I couldn’t even keep a sip of water down. Luckily at this point I was admitted to The Alfred and the incredible team quickly determined there was a cancerous lesion causing a bowel blockage. Dr Melissa Budge explained the options and the risks. I could go home and suck on crushed ice with morphine pumped into my arm, as and when I needed it, until the final curtain came down within 90 days!... Or I could opt for risky surgery which could also spell the end but at best could buy me some more time.
Keri and I had a good chat and I just said, ‘I think we roll the dice on this one. And if I don’t see you tomorrow, it’s been wonderful and if I do it will be even better!’ I remember Keri’s beautiful face and words as I was on the bed being wheeled into surgery, ‘You’re going to fight this. Don’t give up!’ I repeated to myself, ‘come on big fella!’.
Amazingly I made it through the surgery and when I came to, I just kept saying to Keri, ‘You’re so beautiful’.
The Alfred has given me an amazing gift. A gift of more time on this earth with my loved ones. Moments to cherish and say goodbye.
In return I’m calling on you to help. Your donation will support the experts at The Alfred in their lifesaving work.
All the staff at The Alfred were simply brilliant, the nurses, the surgeons and even the young guy who wheeled me to the theatre, they were all so warm, caring and professional. Keri and I really can’t thank them enough. After the surgery Keri spoke with Dr Budge who was so pleased with how it went. Drs. Yeung and Budge had to remove 80cm of my bowel and I’ve since learnt that this is now stored in The Alfred’s donor-funded cancer biobank for future research. It’s incredible to think the range of material saved there could be vital in the fight to cure cancer.
There is no doubt the diagnosis, operation and treatment at The Alfred has extended my time, hopefully an extra 90 days to spend with my gorgeous wife, sons, family and friends.
After my operation I found myself waking up at 2am with thoughts racing through my mind. I was given more time; how can I help give other people that same chance? I knew I’d have no peace if I didn’t try to help.
That's why I’m working closely with The Alfred Foundation to share my story with all money raised going to support The Alfred’s work in cancer research and care. Your help today could give patients like me more time with their loved ones and save lives.
Your donation could make such a difference. Cancer is a hideous disease, please help the team at The Alfred fight it.