Bowel can­cer shock

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By SA­MAN­THA SMITH

IT STARTED off as a sore back. Now Roy Muli­talo is pre­par­ing his fam­ily for a life with­out him.

The fa­ther-of-five was di­ag­nosed with in­op­er­a­ble ter­mi­nal bowel can­cer last Oc­to­ber.

He is telling his story to help raise aware­ness of the dis­ease that claims about the same num­ber of New Zealand lives as prostate and breast can­cer com­bined.

June is Beat Bowel Can­cer Aware­ness Month.

The ag­gres­sive na­ture of the 41-year-old’s can­cer has caused it to spread to his lungs, liver and chest.

But he didn’t have any vis­i­ble symptoms at first and doc­tors just ‘‘ stum­bled upon’’ the dis­ease.

‘‘I had a sore back for a num­ber of months prior. I did the whole phys­io­ther­apy and acupunc­ture thing but it wasn’t get­ting rid of it.

‘‘It wasn’t un­til I had an MRI scan that my doc­tor saw a dis­coloura­tion be­tween one hip and the other.

‘‘I thought I would just get a cor­ti­sone in­jec­tion or some­thing or that I had a slipped disk.

‘‘But as they were go­ing through the tests and elim­i­nat­ing things, they said, ‘look, this is what we have found’.’’

The news brought tears and anger to Roy and his wife Rachel but that’s when their faith kicked in.

‘‘We re­mem­bered, be­ing Chris­tians, that for what­ever rea­son God isn’t re­spon­si­ble but he al­lows things to come into our lives for our good and we be­lieve that. And we are of the be­lief that he has al­lowed this to strengthen and re­fine us,’’ Roy says.

‘‘I guess it is to help us pos­si­bly be an en­cour­age­ment and in­spi­ra­tion to oth­ers. The only rea­son we have any san­ity in this is be­cause of our faith in Christ.’’

Roy is now

on

to

his sev­enth cy­cle of chemo­ther­apy. Ev­ery other av­enue of treat­ment has been ex­hausted.

‘‘Chemo­ther­apy is for qual­ity of life. Will it take away the tu­mours? No. It may de­lay it and give me some time. But they told us any­where from six to 12 months and even then they are still not sure.’’

Roy now takes ev­ery day as it comes. He is no longer work­ing and his mo­bil­ity has suf­fered. But he says his ap­pre­ci­a­tion for life has grown.

‘‘My ap­pre­ci­a­tion for life has in­creased by not tak­ing time for granted. You start to see the value of peo­ple over pos­ses­sions.

‘‘It’s more about spend­ing time with loved ones, not so much about ac­cu­mu­lat­ing things. Ap­pre­ci­ate what time you have left on the earth.’’

Rachel says trea­sured mo­ments and be­ing able to pre­pare for a life with­out her hus­band have been an ad­van­tage.

‘‘My kids know about ev­ery­thing, we are so open about it. But they know mum is go­ing to be around longer then dad,’’ she says.

‘‘He has been able to sit with the kids and help them with their homework . . . it’s the lit­tle things.’’

Roy Muli­talo and his wife Rachel are mak­ing the most of the time they have left to spend with each other.

Roy and Rachel with their chil­dren, from left, Matthias, 8, Ge­n­e­sis, 7, and Cor­ban, 5, at a War­riors game to­gether.

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