A Wife's Story


Don't wait until it's too late encourage the man in your life to make a date with a GP this year. It saved my husband's life.

Let me tell you about a Christmas Eve I try hard to forget. A Christmas when I cried so hard and was so consumed by bleakness – it took all my strength to keep it from our kids and our extended family.

My darling husband Tim was almost given a death sentence - 'You have prostate cancer'. Until further tests results came back we were suspended in fear: we didn't know which cards fate would deal us we tried our best to smile through our tears.

Every time we looked at our miracle baby Oliver – who was only three months old – it almost unraveled us as Tim wondered if he would get to see his new son walk.

Every time I fed Oliver in that quiet dark of night: as the house slept I would look at this cherub face and think 'am I going to be doing this alone'. And the tears would fall. The emotions are like being on a roller coaster—one minute you are fine; the next your stomach is tied in knots. The fatigue of just living with the diagnosis is unreal.

I always thought my husband Tim and I had a fairy-tale life. Many in the Australian music industry know Tim as a guitarist in the band Rose Tattoo and for playing with Jimmy Barnes and many others. In fact Tim co-wrote and played on the famous Scott and Charlene wedding song, for the TV show Neighbours, which became a number 1 chart song for Angry Anderson.

Men are good at razzing each other, giving each other a hard time and not really good at keeping up with their health checks. Tim was different – and that saved his life.

When Rose Tattoo founding member Pete Wells died from misdiagnosed prostate cancer, Angry Anderson led the charge, encouraging the entire band to have regular checkups with their doctor.

We have an amazing extended family and my kids adore Tim. We wanted a little guy of our own to really blend our families and were focused on falling pregnant before we got too old. When Oliver was born in October 2009 we thought we were in for the best Christmas of all.

Funnily enough Tim went to visit his doctor over something trivial: when the doctor suggested the prostate cancer check we never imagined that Christmas Eve call. Tim not only had prostate cancer but one of the most aggressive strains. Best-case scenarios three years, possibly five, if it could not be halted: numbers that were just noise in my head.

If it weren't for Oliver I would have descended into depression. Tim was shattered: we had lived this wonderfully buoyant life up 'til then. A house filled with music, laughter and love and suddenly death had entered our home. So we put on a brave face for the family, focused on this wonderful baby boy and moved forward with the treatment. Everyday Oliver and Tim have together is a gift – a gift we treasure and never take for granted.

Tim was always health conscious. He stopped drinking alcohol at 40 and used to run four times a week. He'd had regular checkups, especially while we were trying to conceive.

I often find myself wondering when had this cancer found its way into Tim's body and try and take the man we love from us? Why did this disease want to tear my family apart, especially when we had just welcomed a beautiful new life into the world?

Fortunately doctors were able to treat Tim: he still has to have six month check-ups so we cannot say he is entirely in the clear but things are looking good. Everyone from the oncologists to the surgeon has said early diagnosis saved his life! Whatever took Tim to the doctor that day – it was fate.

So, I am reaching out to you. Women are comfortable talking about their health, we share so much – now it is time to encourage the men in our lives to have a check-up today – tomorrow may be too late.

I don't have to imagine life without Tim – but I did once and I do not wish that on anyone. The PA Research Foundation's Men's Health Initiative is a wonderful opportunity to talk to the men in your life - your husband, your father, son, cousin, uncle, brother or friend.

It's also an opportunity to support amazing medical research projects happening at the PA Hospital. Breakthroughs in research mean diagnosis of many diseases has never been better and treatments are varied and more effective than ever before.

Without this research, I would be without a husband, and my children would be without a father. It's something that is very hard to imagine and something that I don't want other families to go through.

I'm urging everyone to please donate to MANDATE and help save the life of a loved father, husband, son, nephew, brother, cousin, and friend. Together we can change the statistics and improve the outcome for men's health.

I wish you and your families a wonderful, healthy and happy life and I know our fairy-tale can continue thanks to medical research.

Yours in health,