Time to update, as this campaign has been running on and off for nearly two years.
I was first diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer in July 2009, ten years ago this month.
Other medical issues since then include removal of my thyroid gland due to radiation damage. Also esophageal
cancer, which after treatment, appears to be currently in remission (Barret's Esophagus). And a long list of ongoing minor health issues. My mobility is seriously compromised by a worsening degenerative spinal condition.
Originally, I started this campaign in an attempt to move closer to medical help. I have for the last eight years, lived remotely at Lightning Ridge, NSW. Our nearest major hospital is nearly 400 km away, at Dubbo. Most of my cancer treatment has been at the Royal Brisbane & Womens Hospital, 800 km away. I started treatment there in 2009,
largely under the guidance of one thoracic specialist, who has now performed more than 40 bronchoscopies on me. I was initially given 12 months to live. The fact that I am still alive 10 years later, is the reason why I wish to
continue treatment in Brisbane. I have in the past made as many as eight return trips to Brisbane within a year.
Any money I had when first diagnosed has been eaten up in travelling expenses, car maintenance, medical
requirements and normal living expenses. I live on solar power, with a generator back-up. When I first started this
campaign, my solar batteries had failed, followed closely by my generator.
Money I have raised has replaced those items, but I am still living hand to mouth, from one pension to the next.
There is absolutely nothing in reserve for emergencies. I don't live extravagantly, but continue to run out of
generator fuel, firewood, and food too, some weeks. I would like to find some form of employment, but think that is most unlikely as I am no longer reliable. Some days it is difficult even getting out of bed.
My lung cancer has returned and I am currently undergoing a course of immunotherapy, a treatment which
requires travelling to Dubbo every three weeks for up to two years, if I survive that long. I am still travelling to
Brisbane at least twice a year for other treatment. This Winter has been particularly hard, with recurring serious
chest infections. Keeping warm has been a priority, with nearly $400 spent on firewood already.
As I get older (68) and my disease progresses, travelling for treatment has become harder. I would really like to
move between now and when the heat of Summer sets in. Ideally, I need an affordable, small place to rent, within
an hour or two of Brisbane. Without further assistance, I simply cannot afford to move. So, once again, I am relying on the generosity of others to provide a solution.
No doubt people who have already donated will read this, so all I can ask is that you share this as widely as you can.
And thank you.
Hello, I’m Ian. I’m a 66 year old divorced male. I live alone with my three dogs.
In July 2009, I was diagnosed with inoperable Locally Advanced Stage 3, Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer, and given twelve months to live.
Life since then has never been the same.
The specialists decided chemo and radiation may help prolong life. Six weeks of chemo and radiation finished on Xmas Eve 2009. Xmas Day saw me in Intensive Care, with my body shutting down due to an immune system damaged by chemo.
In early 2010, I was told the cancer would return. I was also told there was extensive scar tissue in my lung due to radiation. Some time later, I was also diagnosed with a thyroid gland damaged by radiation. My thyroid gland was removed in 2013.
In the more than eight years since my original diagnosis, I have had numerous other medical issues. Too many to list, in fact, but easy to verify from my medical records.
The lung cancer did come back a couple of years ago, but it was detected at an early stage, during a routine bronchoscopy. It was successfully removed by burning (can’t remember the proper name) during a series of subsequent bronchoscopies. I have now had over 40 (yes 40!) bronchoscopy procedures, since July 2009.
Late last year, I was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer (Barratts Oesophagus). This, we think, was largely removed by an EMR procedure, during a gastroscopy, of which I have now had four.
As far as we know, I am cancer free at the moment, which is nothing short of a miracle. Even my main specialist cannot explain how I have survived this long. Apparently it is highly unusual with this type of lung cancer.
I am due for another bronchoscopy in mid November, and another gastroscopy early next year.
My problem is the distance I need to travel for treatment, which will be ongoing whilst I am alive.
I live in North West NSW (Lightning Ridge), and all my treatment for cancer since the beginning has been at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH). I continue to drive to Brisbane due to the fabulous and successful treatment I have received there.
But every journey from home to Brisbane is 800km one way. I average between four and six return journeys every year. My savings have all been used up, I am driving an old vehicle in need of constant repair. I live alone on a Disability Support Pension, and have been unable to work since diagnosis. I still live independently, with only some cleaning provided by a Home Care service. The last three summers our daytime temperature has exceeded 50*C on a regular basis, which is extremely difficult for anybody with breathing difficulties.
I am trying to raise the funds to move somewhere closer to Brisbane. I would like to rent a small place within an hour or two of Royal Brisbane. Moving itself will be an expensive exercise, plus I first need to find a suitable location. I am also hoping to upgrade my old vehicle, before it falls to bits. I am after a good, reliable second-hand van, nothing too fancy.
But none of this is possible with my finances as they are, without some outside assistance. Even putting food on the table has been a struggle at the end of the last few pension fortnights, with extra expenses for car repairs and registration taking priority.
The sad truth is that the longer I stay where I am, the further behind I get. As time progresses, it is likely that the number of trips I have to make to Brisbane will increase.
I have no idea how long I have left. The specialists have stopped making predictions. All bets are off!
I simply want to find a place with easy access to Brisbane, where I can spend the rest of my days, without the stress and expense of constant 800km drives to Brisbane, and somewhere without such a harsh climate.
Since I m no longer capable of strenuous work, I will need to pay someone to do the heavy lifting involved in moving.
My other wish is that if I am successful in moving, I may be able to help another cancer patient with accommodation and support. If nothing else, my more eight year journey with cancer, has given me valuable experience in dealing with a cancer diagnosis.
I am relying on the generosity of strangers to help me make this move, so I can continue my medical treatment without the stress and expense I am currently experiencing.
I don't live an extravagant lifestyle, but I seem unable to break this cycle of poverty. As I sit here this morning, with a week left until pension day, I have only enough food left to last until tomorrow.
For any donation at all, I say thank you in advance.
- Robyn Fallshaw
- Nikki Leslie
- Janelle Atkinson
- Christa Smith
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