By CORAL FUATA
My husband, Alex, was a fit and active 55-year-old father of our three children and rarely visited the doctor.
In 2008 Alex visited the local clinic for what he thought was an infected bite. To make the most of his visit, he asked for a full check-up. His results were completely normal and it was simply by chance that the radiologist was at the clinic, so the doctor also recommended a chest x-ray.
Immediately after having the x-ray, Alex was referred for a CT scan. He was then advised to return to the clinic as soon as it reopened the next morning.
When he came home that night, I took the envelope from him. I saw the two page report and I knew something was not right. I sat at the computer and entered some keywords. My stomach sank in disbelief as I saw the words lung cancer and bone cancer. I walked to the lounge room where Alex was sitting with the kids and said ‘I think I will come with you to the doctor tomorrow’. I said nothing to him and he was totally unaware, not suspecting a thing.
I was anxious and even more so the next morning. When we arrived at the clinic, we were whisked into the doctor’s office. She said ‘you do know, don’t you?’ I said ‘no, we don’t know but I think it is bad’. She said ‘I am sorry Alex you have lung cancer; it is terminal’.
Alex just sat there. He did not say a word.
She said she needed to organise immediate treatment, we were to go home and wait for her call.
I couldn’t believe this was happening to Alex, the strong, powerful and healthy man. I wondered what was going through Alex’s mind? How he was feeling? Were there really no answers, no positive ending?
I remember so clearly walking into the oncologist’s office and seeing Beth Ivimey, Alex’s Lung Cancer Nurse, sitting to the back of the room behind the oncologist. She was smiling and had a firm yet warm and friendly face.