Miracle man makes stunning recovery from terminal cancer
A NEAR-death experience followed by a miracle recovery - cancer survivor Brian Wenham has seen it all in a few crazy months.
The 68-year-old, who hails originally from Busselton in Western Australia was late last year relishing the surf at Brooms Head, a couple of years into a Grey Nomad adventure with his wife Judy.
But a sudden twist of fate intervened in the couple's blissful retirement.
Beset by gut pains for several weeks, he eventually took himself to a GP in Maclean.
Within 24 hours he found out he was suffering terminal bowel cancer with doctors giving him no more than a week to live - unless he made an extremely risky decision to operate.
And that was just the opening scene in this Herculean drama of recovery.
After the operation, Mr Wenham faced a race against time for his body to heal in time to take the massive amounts of chemotherapy required to kill secondary cancer which had spread completely to his liver and was creating jaundice.
In two weeks Mr Wenham lost 25kg and had an eerie near death experience; a "dreamland".
"I was sitting in a bed waiting to go back to the ward... I just shut my eyes and suddenly I was in this big garden... it was all eerie colours, I'm floating slowly backwards."
"I'd actually made my peace with God," he said.
"But I decided I was going to stay... to give it another go."
So he pulled himself out of the "beautiful feeling" and back to the hospital bed.
He didn't know it then, but eight months later Mr Wenham is practically fully recovered after enjoying the last of his intensive chemotherapy sessions at Lismore Base Hospital, while staying in comfort and care as Our House's 2000th guest.
Our House manager Ruth Harrison said Mr Wenham was in a "terrible" way when he arrived at Our House back in October.
But if that was an ordeal, his recovery was a miracle.
"The first scan the liver was just one big blob of cancer tumours... the next scan it was 20-25% had gone... that's when the oncologist started to say 'this is looking good'," Mr Wenham recalled.
"Then the third one we'd had it was 50-60% gone. And then the PET scan the other day, the doctor's words were there was no active cancer at all."
After almost eight months of treatment, the Wenhams said they were blessed to have the "second to none" cancer treatment facilities available at Lismore Base Hospital, with accommodation at Our House being a key ingredient.
Without that, they would have been forced the make the long drive from Brooms Head each day during two week chemotherapy stints.
Ms Harrison said the positive comments about Our House and Lismore's cancer facilities were echoed by other patients, too.
Mr Wenham even said he "thoroughly enjoyed" his regular chemotherapy sessions
"It was the highlight of my week," he said.
He's now back in the saltwater at Brooms Head and enjoying every minute of his health.