Dear family and friends,
Please help raise funds to give me the gift of my lifetime - a beautiful glass photographic portrait of myself by world-renowned portrait and fashion photographer Robbie Merritt - and support the work of an incredible local charity - Cancer Support WA.
Please show your support by sponsoring my portrait.
MY STORY, The Cancer Test
So there I was, in New Zealand competing in one of the world’s toughest endurance events, the Ironman. The 4km swim had gone according to plan, and I had really worked well on the 180.2km bike leg, it was now down to my best leg, the 42.2km marathon. All I had to do was complete it in my normal race time and I was off to Hawaii to race the World Championships six months later... easy!
2km into the run my stomach and bowel were not doing what they were supposed to and I spend the next 21km vomiting and cramping and having nasty lower end pain. Needless to say I was pulled off the course and that was that! No qualification... no Hawaii... not fair I thought, must have been my nutrition plan. Best review that with my coach and a sports nutritionist to see what’s going on.
2 months later, I thought I’d finish the season with the half ironman in Busselton. Same thing again, reasonable swim, good bike, but stomach/bowel issues all through the run!
So...that little bit of blood in my motions might be something to look into. That “haemorrhoid” might be giving my bowel some problems. Off to the Doc, quick booking made for a colonoscopy, and then the news that no-one really expects to hear when you are still half doped up from the procedure. “Yep, you have cancer mate, you have a tumour, and best we send you off to the surgeon now.”
Then the normal cycle of disbelief/ fear/ anger etc all take over. Here I am a non smoking, extremely fit, youngish guy with bowel cancer?
So, what do you do? I decided I was strong and fit, and would out muscle this temporary glitch in my life. I even re-entered two more Ironman races to ensure I would be able to qualify for Hawaii again.
Radiation/ Chemotherapy/ Surgery and more Chemotherapy, and more surgery over around 10 months finished that problem I thought. I had outmuscled it!
Three months later, and my first check up brought me back to earth with a thump. My cancer markers were sky high. And the scans showed multiple growths in my liver and lung. The oncologist’s prognosis wasn’t exactly comforting. 8 to 12 months if I was lucky....
The next couple of weeks were REAL fear, it was only wandering through the house with a book I read 12 months ago ( Ian Gawler’s “You can Conquer Cancer”) I heard an ad on the radio talking about Ian Gawler being in Perth that weekend for a 2 day workshop. Co-incidence? So I booked it, and spent the two days trying to straighten myself out. It was really then that I understood the “healing team” concept.
I met one of the organisers of the event, and was introduced to CSA. In the previous 12 months, no “medical” practitioner had ever mentioned this support organisation.
I organised a meeting with Counsellor Mike Sowerby, and sat in on the group meeting. I don’t think I have really looked back since that day. The counselling and group discussions encouraged me to really look deep within myself and understand who I was, what I stood for, and some simple things like love/ compassion/ self care.
The experience of the staff and experiences of the other CSA members really allowed me to find a different way to approach this second batch of cancer.
The way I have approached it this time is almost opposite to my initial approach. I have accepted it as something that is a part of me, and something my body has produced.
I have been a huge enthusiast of allowing my mind and body to quieten and reset itself through meditation; it has also coughed up a lot of emotional stresses and baggage that I had buried for quite a few years. I have been able to come to terms and move on from that “buried treasure.”
I have changed my nutrition quite substantially, and started my own organic garden in the back yard.
The quieting of my mind also allowed me to look more at what my future entailed, and strangely enough it wasn’t an Ironman racer, or a Management Consultant. So in line with being true to myself, I changed both of these directions and quite often as is the case, it seemed both these were probably more ego driven than what I REALLY wanted.
There were plenty of other things that I have been able to access, and make changes to, directly resulting from the CSA team, and resources.
So... where does this leave me you ask? Well, after the oncologist said I had a chemo resistant cancer, he would still like to do another 12 rounds, and then look at surgery if there was any response.
With the changes I made to my life my Cancer count went from a very high level back to “normal” in 5 rounds. So quick that the oncologist booked a scan after 3 rounds so the surgeon could see where the cancer was prior to treatment.
I have had surgery to remove the lesions from my liver, and lung tumour removed 5 months later. I have continued on my partnership with the CSA healing team as an ongoing relationship.
My life has changed immeasurably the second time around, and am happy with the way I am living my life. We are all going to leave this earth someday, and I intend to continue my learning and personal development journey for as long as I am gifted.
Thanks CSA for helping me take ownership of my life and my ability to change outcomes.
It really is quite unbelievable that an organisation than can have such an effect of a cancer patient or carer’s life can be so ignored by both the government and medical practitioners. To ensure the quality of service, and ability to deliver continues, I urge you to please support the CSA with a donation. (How much does a standard 10 minute consultation cost at your Doctor’s/ Specialist’s office?)
Cancer Support WA
For over 30 years, Cancer Support WA has helped and supported many thousands of Western Australians affected by cancer to achieve wellness, healing and improve their outcomes from cancer.
The money Cancer Support WA raises through fundraising enables us to provide vital free services and programs including:
24 hour cancer support phone line
Counselling for individuals and families
Information packs for people newly diagnosed with cancer
Mentoring and grief groups
Cancer care packs
Home and hospital visits from counselling staff
Cancer wellness courses and seminars
Research, library and wellness magazine
Through your generous donation, Cancer Support WA is able to offer these services at no cost to West Australian families experiencing financial hardship due to cancer.
For more information, please visit our website.
- Chris Gordon: $500.00
- Negus Family: $200.00