Today is World Cancer Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness for the prevention, early detection and treatment of cancer.
Bone marrow transplant recipient and ONJ Cancer Centre patient Greg Pearsall wants you to know that although a cancer diagnosis is scary, treatment and coming to hospital can prolong and even save your life.
He urges you to visit your doctor at the first signs of change or if you feel that something just doesn’t feel right.
He wrote this letter in the hope that it gives others an insight into what going through treatment and being in hospital can be like.
“When I first stepped foot into Austin Hospital on 7 January 2020, and more specifically the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre, I’d just been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia.
The day of admission was, for me, a day of fear and trepidation, not only with the unknown of the condition I was facing, but also an extreme sense of loneliness as I had been moved well away from my family and loved ones.
From the moment I walked through the doors of the Austin Hospital and then into Ward 7 South, my mood started changing. From thoughts of being captive in an unknown place with people I didn’t know, I quickly developed a sense of being welcomed and not just another patient. Through the sense of suffering, pain and uncertainty that go hand-in-hand with a hospital, was a definite sense of happiness, care and calm coming through from the staff on duty.
During the course of 2020, I would spend in the vicinity of 150 plus days as a patient in 7 South, enduring first 3 rounds of chemo and then finally a bone marrow transplant. Added to this was of course the complexities of COVID-19 restrictions. From that very first day right through till the last, I always felt safe and reassured that I was receiving world class treatment, ranging from nursing staff, specialists, wellness staff and PSAs. Every person I dealt with always did so with a smile on their face and a complete sense of care and compassion.
I still to this day absolutely treasure and value every single bond I formed with every single staff member and will do so for life. The great work of the medical team that looked after me has me currently in remission, and whilst I know that the leukemia is a demon that will hover over me forever, I have the utmost confidence that if required I could count on the Austin Health to look after me again.
So, after a year from when I first walked into hospital, I sit and enjoy life with my loved ones, and I make the promise that I will never forget my mates at the Austin Health and the ONJ Cancer Centre.
Thank you and God bless you all.