A Thank You Beyond Limits
By Steve Holmes
I have survived past the 6.8 months average survival time. This is the very dire outlook that we CC Patients must endure when diagnosed with Cholangiocarcinoma, a Pancreatic/Liver duo connected by the bile ducts.
This outlook in itself is very crippling mentally, it can bring about the physical reality even quicker than the 6.8 months average, as it busts down your spirit at speed. The ground beneath disintegrates and you just fall straight through what was once taken for granted as solid. All control seems lost.
I have a lot of people to thank.
I am not only still here but also I am now cancer free after nearly 25 hours of surgeries, metastasis and 2 trials . This is something that statistically is almost impossible and lands me in a very exclusive club of 4 world wide due to immunotherapy intervention. There is also another very small group of 6 (ish) who have succeeded via surgery alone. Make no mistake this a rare cancer on the rise and has been often mistaken under the umbrella of Pancreatic and or Liver Cancer diagnosis. This cancer is cellular and very very aggressive – hence no obvious survival statistics. Can it be beaten – Yes I am now part of that equation, and I stand ready to do my bit and pull others across to the safety of solid ground.
People matter, the system matters, the culture matters!
Dr Cathrine Hughes – Tedder Avenue Medical Practice
Cathy you moved so quickly and efficiently, even before you became aware just how serious this was all to become. Cathy you were the person the professional who paved the way forward and showed me options. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You so very much Cathy!
Queensland Health system – especially the Gold Coast University Hospital (GCUH) – WOW what a complete culture of curative positive team work at all levels . . . So many talented and committed professionals on my pathway to recovery. My local GP, Radiologists, Ambulance Officers, Hospital Emergency Teams and Nurses who all kept me in the game, giving me hope and inspiration despite my continuing dire circumstances. You are all “Angel’s in Action” weaving out your next miracle. You are the makers of miracles – you gave me the chance to realise my very own miracle – thank you
Dr Tom Snow who quite literally saved my life with seconds to spare as I suffered a major Aneurysm. Tom you ensured that I made it to the next stepping stone and into the care and skills of Dr Mathew Burge (Oncologist) at Royal Brisbane and Womens Hospital (RBWH). Without you Tom there would have been no “Next Chapter” in my story . . . Thank You – Thank You – Thank You and WOW WOW WOW
Harold Puhala and his team of 7
Harold you managed me well, putting up with my constant interruptions to discuss my passion for cycling, disrupting your flow on the serious business of cancer – yes this was my sneaky distraction strategy from the seriousness and overwhelm.
Suzzane one of my famous 7
Suzzane you broke the horrific news to Claire and I, that I had cancer, and it was seriously bad – it could not have been easy for you to deliver such life ending news. Suzzane you shone a light on the enormity of the challenge that lay ahead of me and you were also there a few weeks later to give me the good news that the surgery had been successful – “Clear Negative Margins” had been achieved. I very fondly remember that most of the team of my famous 7-ers were there with you to high 5 that amazing moment. Thank You Suzzane !
Keong another of my famous 7
You walked me though my Post Op consultation the surgery was successful, but the cancer would return. Hmmm Success and Failure go head to head in their meaning! Keong you explained that I had no other options of treatment – Chemo or Radiation would not work on my cancer.
Keong you were also subjected to my constant interruptions on Cycling and you humoured me well (Much better than Harold)
Keong you give a glimpse of hope, you had researched other options . . . you found the Hamburg trial and you immediately made the phone calls and connected me to Dr Mathew Burge. Although none of us could have known at the time, this was in fact the beginning of my survival, a critical connection to my outcomes – a small seemingly insignificant connection was the beginning of a miracle. The Hamburg trial was a hideous and oppressive experience, well beyond what I thought I was capable of withstanding. It failed dismally on all counts, I spontaneously became very very terminal, but more importantly I was now in the care of Dr Matthew Burge Matthew was also heading up the immunotherapy trial Keynote trial 158 – luck was in my corner. I became one 0f 9 CC patients on that trial. Thank You Keong
YES “LIFE CAN ALSO JUST HAPPEN ON YOU” DESPITE THE BEST OF PREPAREDNESS.
Ps. Kevin White is just one of those special people that made a big difference by just being there for both Claire and I. Kevin you were one of many mates who stood by me but you stood taller with your tolerance and of course significant wisdoms and intelligence.
The Sunday Bunch Riders a Motley and Mildly talented bunch of cyclists and runners that towed me through most of my medical /Health Adventures.
Thanks Kev, Mark, Lawrence, Jason, Kylie and Debs you are all unique . . . It was so close to “Being all over Red Rover” for me, I got spat out the back door, all alone on a climb for my life, WOW you all dropped back to show me your wheel giving me the comfort and protection of the bunch to recover and get over the top of this almost unclimbable climb!
Many people choose to avoid those with Cancer, in a plague-like fashion with an unsaid invisible type excommunication from the herd – but not you guys . . . none of you hesitated to embrace and include me, you gave me visibility you gave me purpose – you kept life on my agenda! Hmmm. . . You are all worthy and true “Wild Hogs“ on Carbon, “Wild Hogs” in Lycra and “Wild Hogs” with Compassion. THANK YOU, THANK YOU ,THANK YOU – Psss . . . I still have first dibs on being “William Macey”!!!