A sore back. That's all it was. Nicholas O'Connor tried a few different things to fix it - osteo and physio, but the back just wouldn't come right. So, his wife Sydney decided she had better book him in for an x-ray with the Doctor and see what was happening.
January 12th of this year the X-ray was taken and before the day had ended, the Doctor told Nicholas to go to his lawyer immediately to get his Will done and to get a Power of Attorney sorted because the bad back wasn't just bad. It was metastasized cancer in his bone. And it was everywhere.
"I think his earlobes are the only place the cancer hasn't gone" chuckles Sydney over the phone four months later.
A sense of humour, a lot of love, some amazing Hospice Nurses and friends have helped Sydney and Nicholas cope as they navigate down the meteoric fall of Nicholas's health.
And, a holiday.
"It was fabulous, just utterly fabulous!" Sydney says of her and Nicholas stay in the holiday home care of home donor Andrea Thompson.
"Just to be able to step outside of the normal routine was magnificent. To go somewhere that wasn't the Doctors or the Hospital or anywhere else we've been going since Nicholas fell ill. Fabulous!"
The cancer has been so aggressive, Doctors didn't think that Nicholas would get to celebrate his birthday this year, just four short months after he was diagnosed. But, while on their TimeOut holiday in Snells Beach, Nicholas did just that.
"Nicholas had wanted a pork roast for his birthday. So, I cooked us up a beautiful roast and we sat on the upstairs balcony and we looked out at this stunning view over the beach."
Sounds like a good birthday!
Thank-you to our generous home donor Andrea for supplying your holiday home to Nicholas and Sydney. And thank-you to Nicholas and Sydney for sharing your story, we wish you all the best.