Imagine, one minute you’re cradling your special little child in your arms. The next, you’re picking yourself up off the floor as you recover from a seizure.
No one should ever have to face the ordeal of telling their little ones that their mummy or daddy has cancer. But that’s the daunting reality that faced Phil and his wife Sarah.
Phil was admitted to hospital the day after the seizure and sent for extensive MRI scans. The diagnosis was conclusive and wife Sarah broke the news to Phil.
“When my wife Sarah first told me the results of the MRI the only thing I could think about was how do we tell the girls.” – Phil Russell, diagnosed with brain cancer
Phil’s children, Stella aged 7 and Clancie aged 16 months, had no idea what a grade 3 brain tumour was but they knew their daddy was very sick.
Phil was advised that the tumour had to be removed as soon as possible and surgery was scheduled for 10 days time. Waiting for this life-saving surgery was the longest 10 days of Phil’s life and though the surgery was a success, Phil’s battle with cancer was far from over.
In addition to 12 months of chemotherapy Phil, like many patients who are diagnosed with cancer, faced symptoms which were both physically and emotionally challenging.
“After they removed the tumour, my speech was so affected that the girls couldn’t understand me when I tried to say ‘I love you’ to them. As an adult with a family to look after, learning to speak again was especially hard for me to deal with.”- Phil Russell
Despite everything Phil was going through, he made the brave and selfless decision to take part in a
clinical trial – compelled to do his bit for cancer research, his daughters, and future generations who may have to face cancer later in their own lives.
As part of the 12 month clinical trial, Phil underwent 12 intensive cycles of chemotherapy in conjunction with radiotherapy, which consisted of 5 days on, 23 days off.
“Taking part in the chemotherapy trial was the greatest gift I could give my girls. I wanted to do my bit so they may never have to grow up with cancer in their lives.” – Phil Russell