Merv fights for life against cancer
By SAM BENGERsamb@gladstoneobserver.com.au
HAVING lost his wife and father to cancer and now battling the disease himself, Merv Castledine is an inspiration to those around him.
In the past six months Merv has undergone seven courses of chemotherapy and is about to undergo his eighth.
Merv said he decided to move to Gladstone in February last year after his wife lost her five-year battle with breast cancer.
'At the time my two sisters, Mum and Dad were all living in Gladstone and I decided it would be a good time to consolidate the family and move up here with the kids,' he said.
'Everything was looking all right and I got work as an apprentice electrician and refrigeration mechanic ? but two months in I started getting sick, I came down with pains in the the side of my chest and I thought it was a heart attack, but it got progressively worse and I was taken to Gladstone Hospital.'
Merv said this happened just before his Dad's diagnosis with lung cancer.
'Dad was diagnosed and two months later he passed away ? it was so quick, he died on October 2, the day after my birthday, and on October 18 I was diagnosed with liver cancer,' he said.
He said doctors in Rockhampton told him he would need 'some pretty impressive chemo to give me some chance of a future'.
Upon returning to Gladstone Merv said it took only two days before he was flown to Brisbane 'completely doped up on morphine' to begin chemotherapy.
'The doctors told my sisters if they'd waited two more days before getting me to Brisbane, they would've been burying me,' he said.
Despite his ordeal, Merv said he and his two kids, Nicole, 13 and Reece, 10, had moved into a new house at Boyne Island and he was "trying to live life as normal as possible''.
While he's hoping this course of chemotherapy will be his last, with doctors saying he now has years tolive, rather than months, Merv said he just takes each day as it comes and cherishes the time he spends with family.
Merv will be the face of the campaign for this year's Relay for Life event to raise funds for the Queensland Cancer Fund.
A team captains' meeting for interested participants will be staged at The Observer tomorrow at 5.30pm. For information phone Lynne Sibley on 0412 210 619.