Today i’d like to take you back to the beginning, back to the diagnosis, that
ultimately lead to my late husband’s death. Many of you reading, may not know our story, so thought i’d give you a glimpse into this moment in time.
We had a picture perfect life, together for 10 years, married for 6, (I was a young 24 year old bride!!), we had a home we loved, we were financially sound, busy social lives, loved our families, were both enjoying success in our careers and had just had a beautiful baby girl. Plus thanks to my husband, we also had a 10 year plan for the next stage of our lives, but cancer was not something he had factored in.
In January 2010, Nick began experiencing chest pains. Being the avid gym junkie that he was, he first put it down to lifting too much and straining muscles etc, but when massages and sticking to cardio only, didnt alleviate the problem, he began to look into other reasons. He’d describe it as a burning and pulling sensation, most of the time it was manageable, but annoying. So, he started to live off Gaviscon, I still can’t look at those blue bottles now, without cringing. Thinking he had really bad reflux, he always had two bottles going at a time, swigging from them, like an alcoholic minus the brown paper bag. But nothing was making this pain go away, now leading to sleepless nights and a loss of appetite.
So, we started the doctor appointments, including hospital emergency rooms waits, but still no answers, they all thought it must be reflux or a burnt stomach lining, he was so fit and healthy and tests showed up clear. More medication followed, and he only got worse. Though, you wouldn’t know it, he hid his pain well, never taking a day off work.
By now it was June 2010, when it all came to a head. He was interstate in Tasmania on a 2 night stay and I was home with our baby, who was only about 6 months at the time, when he called to say he was coming home early, the pain was really starting to get to him and he just wanted to get a good night rest at home, if he could. I was slightly worried, as it was so out of character for him, he loved his interstate jaunts, nights out eating, drinking and socialising, it’s what he did well!
Once he was home that Thursday night, he told me the pain was getting so bad, he was going to the Epworth emergency department and was not leaving til he had some answers. He refused to let me come with him, not wanting us to both have to sit there all night. I always remember that time, him pulling out the driveway, my daughter in my arms as we waved Daddy goodbye, never realising it was the last time we would ever be the same again.
Nick told the story that once he arrived at Epworth Hospital, he ranted and raved til someone saw him, he was so over not getting answers, being polite was not helping his cause. That night, the Doctor in charge saw Nick quickly. He told me later, that Nick was making such a scene, he just wanted to shut him up. Those who knew Nick, i’m sure would believe this, he always got his way! This Doctor was the only one who really listened, after going through all his recent medical history, he uttered the words to Nick, ‘I hope i’m wrong, but I think you have cancer’.
He was admitted to hospital that night. He didn’t tell me what he had discussed with the doctor, just a phone call, to say he was staying overnight to get some pain relief and some tests done in the morning. He said they thought it was nothing serious, maybe gallstones.
He told no one why he was admitted, he spent the night without me to comfort him. Later I received an onslaught of text messages from him, ‘i love you and my baby girl’ and ‘come as soon as she’s awake in the morning, even if its 5am‘ , that’s when I started to get suspicious…
I have decided to split this into two posts, so stay tuned for Part Two: the diagnosis, treatment and our handling of this situation.
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Til next time, Michela x