Father's cancer fight

WHILE admitting the outlook suggests otherwise, cancer patient Duncan Meadley can foresee his own survival.

"Even though the odds are against me, I have always been positive," he said.

"I don't look or feel like I'm going to die.

"I acknowledge death as a potential outcome and a 'reality' for us all but don't feel or look like a dying man.

"I am rational, logical, optimistic, focused and strong… I have foreseen my own survival and strive to understand and embrace my treatment. "

Instead, Mr Meadley, 42, hopes his story can inspire others.

Last June, the Shell Cove resident was diagnosed with stage four gastroesophageal cancer, with metastases in his lungs, liver, lymph nodes and aorta. He was given a poor prognosis, but doctors were surprised by his response to chemotherapy.

Mr Meadley said doctors have informed him his estimated chance of survival was at best 0.1 per cent.

He continues to undergo chemotherapy.

"I had the diagnosis on the Thursday, a panic attack on the Friday," he said of his initial reaction.

"The tumours in my lungs and aorta are resolved, but I still have tumours on my liver and the primary gi tumour which are inoperable."

If that wasn't a significant enough obstacle, in January there was another unfortunate discovery.

"Three brain tumours were discovered after writing off my car in an accident when I drove into a truck, fortunately without my young family or other road users involved," he said. "It's a lottery win that they found the tumours before I had a seizure or a more serious accident."

This week, Mr Meadley will have radiation surgery at RPA on three tumours, with an estimated 80 to 90 per cent success rate.

Meanwhile, he is currently enjoying spending time with his wife/carer, Gabrielle, and sons Ronan, 12, Rorey, 8, and Maxwell, 6.

"It's been a long, hard road together, but we're a good team and we'll get through this," he said of his wife.

"I feel pretty fortunate that I have a chance to act, prepare and plan.

"A lot of people with different issues and traumas don't have the chance to reconcile their life."

Mr Meadley participated in the survivors' walk at last year's Illawarra Relay for Life, and plans to do the same at this year's Shellharbour Relay.

The event raises funds for the Cancer Council.

"One pleasure and comfort in all of this is the care and tenderness I have seen in family, friends, the kids' school and sports clubs, business colleagues, nurses and other medical professionals and importantly, support groups such as the Cancer Council," he said.

"Your donations individually may feel small but to desperately ill patients your support helps to assist the cancer council and this gives us great strength."

Shellharbour Relay for Life will take place at the Albion Park Showground on March 22-23.

Anyone can register or donate to the cause.

You can do so by visiting www.relayforlife.org.au, or calling the Shellharbour Relay for Life team on 4223 0200.

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