We understand any illness can affect people emotionally, financially and physically. Even though Garry asks for nothing, we have created this page to show our support and using this opportunity to share his story with everyone who know and care for Garry and his family.
From the very beginning Garry has chosen to remain at work during his treatment as he has to look after and provide for his young family. The financial strain and stress of health problems can be a significant burden and has definitely set Garry back on bills and everyday living costs.
This campaign will be a small monetary contribution for his long journey ahead. The donations will go towards his medical bills, prescription medicines, dietary food, rehab and everyday living costs.
Here is Gary's story...
I have stage 4 Follicular Lymphoma. Unfortunately it is not curable however with chemo, we hope to reduce it for a period of time. Once it returns and affects everyday life, it will be back to more chemo treatment until a time when they can no longer risk this form of treatment.
Doctors found 2 lumps in my upper stomach when undergoing a CT Scan for kidney stones some time ago. As I had no symptoms and diagnosis did not reveal anything abnormal, the specialist took a watch and see approach with regular scans. After 6 months, while blood tests still showed no signs of cancers, my stomach would cramp severely and nausea came with it. This would come on every month or so and gradually progressed to every 2 weeks and then weekly. After some time, eventually it became worse and I needed hospitalisation. The lumps had doubled in size and once it was affecting daily life and became debilitating, the specialist insisted on operating to find what it is. Due to the risk and location of the lumps, they could not do a simple biopsy. In March this year I underwent surgery and they succeeded in removing one of the lumps. Unfortunately they found my small bowel was full of cancer and they removed the majority of my small bowel to remove the cancer. This was a major operation however I did recover enough at 2 weeks to resume work from home.
3 to 4 weeks after the operation, I commenced chemo treatment to attack the remaining cancer lump in my upper stomach. This was not able to be removed due to the risks and its position. I have 2 days of chemo once a month for 6 months and doctors are hoping this will reduce the size of the lump and slow down the lymphoma from spreading to other areas. After 3 months of chemo, the cancer has not spread to other parts of my body and the lump appears to have reduced by half. A more complex and detailed scan at the end of 6 months will define the progress more accurately but at this stage we are hoping it reduces further.
During the chemo and for several days after, the body is very weak and nausea keeps activities low. Also my immune system is weaker (however it is stronger than many similar patients so doctors are happy with my healing progress). This has led to several serious bouts of the flu and influenza and currently coming up to 6 weeks with the flu so it is very disheartening and difficult to cope with even simple everyday tasks.
Through it all, Amy my colleague has been calling and checking on me every day, visiting me in hospital, keeping me up to date, assisting with clients and my workload but most of all, her humour and encouragement are beyond expected.
My son Matt who turns 15 today and my daughter Katie who is 13 have unfortunately switched roles and to a large degree are caring for me, a responsibility they handle with maturity way beyond their years. All of my close family live in Victoria, so for many years we have been a team of 3.
While I try to make sure they live life as normal as other teenagers, there has been many times I could not drive or pick them up and they have not been able to attend get together with their friends. They had also missed some time from school while I was in hospital and recovering. It can’t be easy to see their main carer doing life tough and struggling to cope but like Amy, their humour, encouragement and support is amazing.
The very best attribute from Amy, Matt and Katie that I appreciate the most is their patience with me when I am having my bad days. While all of this has taken its toll on my body, the biggest challenge has been to keep mentally strong and with the support of these amazing people, I am able to do this and keep working and feeling a part of something that is bigger than any one person.
We would like to thank you in advance for reading Garry's story and any money donated would be greatly appreciated and will go a long way.
- Mike Gresham
- JANINE Y
- Harry Jin
- Josip and Sarina Zaja
- Kim Wang
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