Cancer can strike in the most unexpected ways. For Germaine Symons a swim at the beach resulted in a devastating discovery.
Germaine recalls the day it all began for him. “I was having a swim at the beach on Valentine’s Day this year. I got caught in a rip and had to tread water for close to an hour. Thankfully I managed to get out safely. I was exhausted and I had an excruciating pain in my leg so my wife, Daisy, took me to hospital to get me checked out.”
A scan at his local hospital in Wonthaggi uncovered a cancerous growth on his hip and groin area.
“Ironically, almost drowning probably saved my life,” Germaine said.
Germaine was referred to St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne where he underwent additional scans and tests, revealing he had Plasma Cell Myeloma, a blood cancer that causes cancerous growths.
Receiving the diagnosis, especially at just 33, was a massive shock. “When people initially drop the word ‘cancer’ you don’t have any idea what that means for you. Daisy, and I went through a lot of different emotions - shock, feeling overwhelmed and stressed.
“The team at St Vincent’s were great. They clearly communicated our options and what to expect. Once we had the treatment plan we felt a lot more confident, choosing to take it all day by day,” Germaine said.
There wasn’t a lot of time for Germaine to get used to the idea. He commenced chemotherapy almost immediately.
“I’m currently receiving weekly treatment, along with medications for my bones to make sure they don’t fracture. The next stage is preparing for the stem cell transplant process,” Germaine said.
Thankfully the results from cycle one have been really positive.
“Dr Matthew Ku and the team at Day Oncology are unreal. You’re not just a patient, they get to know you as a person. The nurses clearly love what they do. They always take the time to find out how you are, how you’re feeling and if there’s anything they can do for you,” Germaine said.
Germaine and his wife want to start a family. This plan has unfortunately had to be put on hold but despite this set back, Germaine still believes that life is precious.
“It‘s about getting your priorities right. I’m passionate about my work, but I also really want to focus on creating memories and spending time with loved ones and friends,” Germaine said.