Holding Hands on a Journey through Cancer.
His wife was diagnosed with bowel cancer a year ago. He knows she has been through the biggest challenge ever. He was with her for the diagnosis and the lead up to surgery where a section of the large intestine was removed. Fortnightly chemotherapy sessions followed for six months.
It extended to eight months because some mornings they would drive an hour only to be near the hospital when a call from the chemotherapy clinic came in because the blood count was too low from the previous day’s blood tests and the chemo session would be canceled. They would drive back home.
The worst times were the journeys to hospital for chemo or for an Oncology appointment, because she didn’t know what she would be faced with that day. Would it be bad news? He knew the pressure on his wife was enormous although she spoke very little of it.
From the hospital he headed for the road along the beaches, hoping the crashing waves and sea spray would draw away some of her stress. Returning home on a good news day was a big relief, but she would be drained and slept from the afternoon into the evening.
The chemo nurses spoke of the improvements in the treatment. It has advanced a long way even in the last two years.
One day at home, after his wife’s chemo treatment was completely finished and his daughter was watching him as they were having coffee. She asked him what was up. He said he had been down to their favorite beach, alone, thinking this whole thing was wrong. It should have been him who was diagnosed with cancer, not his wife.
His daughter looked him in the eyes and said, “No, Dad, this is the way it had to be. You don’t see it, but Mum has the painted stripes across her cheeks because she is a Warrior and the strongest person in our family. That’s why it had to be her and that’s why she now has the all-clear, with no more cancer”.
Because this is so raw and real to his family, it’s the reason he cares so much about advances in medical technology (MedTech).
He has sat in the Oncology waiting room looking at someone directly opposite who has given in to cancer. He has sat with someone who was there alone, facing their darkest fear with no support for what they were trying to comprehend and deal with. A person sat in front of him who was too young to be in that clinic and that felt pretty overwhelming.
His advice to the person who feels discouraged or lacking self-confidence is to spend a morning in the Oncology waiting room. “It’s the slap in the face that you need. You’ll walk away with all your life’s priorities in better shape than when you walked in. GodSpeed the young entrepreneurs bringing the breakthroughs. We need them desperately.”