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Despite a lengthy ten year battle with cancer, 81 year old Paul is a man of no complaints.
Given just 12 months to live at age 71, Paul’s positive attitude remains tenacious and his determination to live is felt strongly by those who meet him.
Being diagnosed with an extremely aggressive form of prostate cancer came as a complete shock for the retiree.
“I had experienced some difficulty urinating and it wasn’t being properly diagnosed, so I asked to see a specialist at Mater,” Paul said.
“It was 2006 when I first saw the urologist and he diagnosed me with prostate cancer. It was extremely aggressive and the doctor said it was lucky that I had been to see him when I did.”
Without treatment, Paul would have had just one year left with his growing family.
Being diagnosed with cancer was a terrible shock—I just didn’t think it could happen to me.
“I had been retired for a few years when this all began, but I wanted to make sure prostate cancer didn’t stop us from living and enjoying life—we still had so much living left to do.”
Paul and his wife Lynette—who he describes as "just wonderful"—have two daughters and four granddaughters. These were the people he wanted to live for.
After being diagnosed, Paul began radiation treatment to control the cancer.
“Radiation worked well for many years, I had no problems and it kept the cancer at bay,” Paul said.
But six years after being diagnosed, Paul found out the cancer was beginning to spread.
He started chemotherapy treatment immediately at Mater Cancer Care Centre and had a very clear goal in mind.
“I asked my oncologist Dr Oliveira, do you think you can keep me alive until I’m 84?”
Fortunately, ongoing chemotherapy treatment has controlled Paul’s PSA (prostate-specific antigen) levels and has allowed him more time with his loved ones.
“I am responding well to the chemotherapy, it is tough but it doesn’t affect me too much. I don’t really allow it to affect me too much,” Paul said.
“The doctors told me I would lose my hair and sure enough, three days after my first treatment I was reading the paper and began to notice lots of hair falling out onto the pages.”
Many things have helped Paul to keep fighting for the past ten years including his unwavering positivity, a loving family and those that care for him at Mater Cancer Care Centre.
“Ever since I began going to Mater for treatment, I have never struck a problem and I have never seen anyone in a bad mood. The nurses are marvellous and I can’t thank them enough,” Paul said.
“They really have been incredible to me.”
Twelve months ago a special milestone made Paul’s battle well worth it. A great-grandson, and the only other boy born into his family, came into the world.
“I have been surrounded by so many incredible women my whole life, but finally to have a great-grandson was just amazing,” he said.
When asked what he hopes for in the future, Paul said “education amongst males”.
“Whenever I am talking to another man, I give him a quick lecture about the importance of the prostate cancer test,” he said.
“They don’t like it, but they need to know how important it is. All it takes is 30 seconds.
“I never knew about prostate cancer, we just didn’t know. But what I do know, I never thought could happen to me.”
“It can happen to anyone and that we need to change.”
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