A survivor & volunteer

Thursday 4 August, 2011

My name is Bill and I live in Lakes Entrance. I am a cancer survivor.

My first bout of cancer occurred in 1995 when I had my left kidney removed after they found I had a low grade soft cell carcinoma located at the stem of the kidney.

Four years later in November 1999 I was diagnosed with a tumour in my right elbow. In Feb 2000 they removed my whole elbow joint and a small part of the humerus and replaced it with an artificial joint and donor bone.

Pathology confirmed that it was a secondary from the kidney, which was not supposed to have happened.

The donor bone was rejected by my body so a second operation was carried out the following year replacing the donor bone with titanium. Then after a heavy fall onto my arm 2 years ago they had to do a complete replacement of the entire joint and titanium piece.

It's now over 16 years since my first kidney operation and coming up to 12 years since the operation on my arm in February 2000. I think this makes me a cancer survivor.

I am a palliative care volunteer, a member of the Lakes Entrance Cancer Support Group, a member of the Consumer Reference Group for Gippsland Regional Integrated Cancer Services and was a volunteer member of a Lakes Entrance group that performed various fundraising efforts for the Cancer Council.

I have attended many cancer supportive care conferences and will be attending a cancer focus group meeting in Morwell in August 2011. I live on an aged pension and do not have any spare money to make donations to cancer research or other cancer programs but I do enjoy the extensive volunteer work I am involved with.

I also have many people in my life who are and were affected by cancer. Both my mother and my partners mother died from cancer. It is always very sad when a close friend tells you they have stage 4 lung cancer as happened just last week. It's devastating.

Updated: 04 Aug, 2011