I think back over my life and remember all the times I have said and thought how difficult, stressful and challenging life can be. Dealing with a child who has Crohns disease, juggling work with everything that comes with raising children, financial worries and building a house just to name a few.
Today I realise how insignificant these worries really were. Yes, my husband, the father of our 2 boys aged 8 and 10 has incurable cancer. Well, that’s what the Doctors say but we are not going to bow down, give in to this ‘Emperor of All Maladies’.
John was admitted to hospital in late 2013 with chest pains. A CT scan revealed a lump under his liver which confused the doctors. Surgeons found what appeared to be a tumour in John’s gallbladder, rare in most situations, and proceeded to remove 10% of his liver, his gallbladder and the local lymph nodes.
The initial prognosis was good, and we began the process of healing, but the pathology results changed all that. Our worst fears were confirmed. Stage IV gallbladder cancer or ‘Adenocarcinoma’ had made its way into the lymph nodes. John required 6 months of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Obviously this was a huge shock and turned our lives upside down. We approached the treatment, with its ups and (mostly) downs with a single hope – that John’s cancer had been removed without a trace and the ‘metastases’ the doctors warned about didn’t exist. We clung to that and for a year it appeared to be true.
Earlier this year however we were shattered to learn John’s cancer was back.
The metastases had invaded lymph nodes around his heart and neck. The oncologists have told us John’s cancer is incurable, the average survival time is 1-2 years but in Johns case being young, fit, somewhat healthy and having his determination to beat it, we could extend this survival time.
John is currently having chemotherapy drugs called Gemcitabine and Cisplatin and as a result of genetic testing and a small study at The Chris O’Brien Lifehouse his oncologist has recommended a drug called ‘Panitumumab’ unfortunately because this is a very new drug it is not on the PBS and will cost $2000 a week. Also due to some promising results we are flying to The Gold Coast every second week where John has whole body and local hyperthermia. We are determined to fight this disease and try to control and manage it for as long as possible but it will require some fundraising.
I understand there is a great deal of suffering in this world, a lot more people worse off than us and many worthwhile charities, but we are living this nightmare and we need to do what we can to make this possible which means asking for help.
We are also organising fundraising throughout the year so please check back here for updates.