Daffodil Day: Cancer Council, a patient's story

TIME TO GET LIVING: David Fuller pops a party popper to celebrate the completion of his treatment for prostate cancer in 2017. Photo: SUPPLIED 081418fuller
TIME TO GET LIVING: David Fuller pops a party popper to celebrate the completion of his treatment for prostate cancer in 2017. Photo: SUPPLIED 081418fuller

IN the lead-up to Daffodil Day on August 24, journalist Nadine Morton is looking at the subject of cancer in our city – from the support services available for patients to the volunteers who offer love and compassion to those fighting the disease. This is the fifth part in a six-week series.

“Hi Dave, I have your blood test results back and I need to see you this afternoon.”

These were the words that David Fuller had dreaded to hear from his doctor when his phone rang in October, 2016.

He had been fatigued for a couple of months and the pain in his groin had steadily got worse.

“My PSA count was 220 and I was referred to a urologist in Sydney immediately. I had a biopsy that confirmed that I had stage four prostate cancer,” he said.

“The PET scan showed that the cancer had escaped the prostate and was present in my bones from my femur, hips, pelvis, lower spine, ribs, left shoulder and skull.

“As a result I did not have an operation as the cancer was not contained in the prostate. I was prescribed chemotherapy and I pushed for treatment to commence as soon as possible.

“They did not expect me to survive Christmas 2017.”

I had a biopsy that confirmed that I had stage four prostate cancer.

Throughout all the treatment and the fatigue that followed, Mr Fuller said the Cancer Council became a place of great support.

“The Cancer Council work so hard at providing support, advice and direction, whether it be emotional, legal, or financial to families in a time of need,” he said.

Mr Fuller said he found the Cancer Council’s ENRICH program extremely supportive and he praised the fact it included patients and their carers.

“It was a high-end look at exercise and nutrition that was invaluable,” he said.

“Experts in each field speak our language to make a complicated area much simpler.”

Mr Fuller decided early on that he would remain as positive as possible during his treatment and in the time since.

While I am told that there is no cure at this stage, I do have it under control and am in good place.

He continued to work and undertake his daily five kilometre walk with his partner Verity Fenton during his treatment.

“Keeping up this pace was very difficult as my fitness level was dropping,” he said.

In the time since his treatment he has returned to playing competitive squash and earlier this month competed in the World Masters Squash Championships in Charlottesville in the United States.

“While I am told that there is no cure at this stage, I do have it under control and am in good place,” he said.

“Life is worth it.”

Daffodil Day series

Feel free to flick back through some of the earlier stories from our Daffodil Day series.