Believe In You and Them
The engine had finally run out of power and the prognosis was terminal!
Analogies are comparisons in which we explain or clarify anything, and this is certainly how I felt when I collapsed on a morning walk with my father on February 8th 2017.
I had recently returned from a Race Day in Brisbane and I asked my daughter to take me to the doctors as I felt very ordinary. My doctor jokingly advised I may have had too much Christmas Cheer which I though may have been spot on. “But we will do a blood test anyway”.
The following morning was when I collapsed and within 10 minutes of that moment, the doctor called to advise the blood results had shown extremely low red cell count which indicated Leukaemia. February 9th 2017, I was flown directly to Brisbane to the Wesley Hospital for a Bone Marrow Biopsy and confirmation of Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML). The kicker was it was the FLT3 mutation and Chemotherapy would have little to no impact.
Options? “You may have 3 months without doing anything, or you can try the Chemo and maybe a Stem Cell Transplant if we can find a Bone Marrow Stem Cell match”. Lets try the Chemo.
We contacted Leukaemia Foundation and they provided our family with a unit in the ESA Village at Dutton Park so they could visit me daily. It was such a relief to know they had somewhere to stay being 1100 klms from home. There are families in the village going through similar scenarios, so the support base was amazing.
First round of Chemo I got an infection in my Hickman line and ended up with Septic Shock in ICU and spent 4 days in a Coma. My family was brought in to say their goodbyes. “He won’t make it through the night sorry”. But I did! Then the next night, then the next. Things didn’t look so good after that and I had nothing left on my bucket list in life. I was in the mindset “ Let Nature take its course”. I didn’t want to put my family through this. Its not fair on them.
Enter Support Councillors Maryanne and Amanda from Leukaemia Foundation, who went through every option available to us. While I was going through the pain and suffering of Chemotherapy my biggest concern was the pain and suffering my family was enduring. My Partner, Dad, Mum and 5 Children had endured it all during that first month. But eventually those two wonderful ladies got my mind to “ They want to be there for you; so let them”.
Another 2 rounds of Chemotherapy, daily blood tests at 4am and more than 100 blood transfusions, we start looking for a Bone Marrow Stem Cell donor. Its our only HOPE!
Siblings? Check. One brother
Bone Marrow Match? Check. 100%
Lotto in? Not required. Just won the life lotto!
A final round of conditioning Chemotherapy and the transplant of 7 million stem cells from my brother Leon. With the support of Leukaemia Foundation and improvements day by day, after 9 months in the Wesley Hospital I had been released back onto the road. The engine was back up and running and topped up with premium fuel. Keeping it running everyday, not revving it too hard but definitely not leaving it in the shed for extended periods was the goal moving forward.
Took a month to walk 100 metres daily, then another month to walk 400 metres daily, till after 4 months post transplant walking 9 kilometres each way from Leukaemia House at Dutton Park to the Wesley Hospital for twice weekly checks. With each and everyday I grow stronger, living life, loving life.
Thank you Leukaemia Foundation.