FAMILY PUSHES FORWARD
MOTHER and wife Wendy Gaskin was the cornerstone of the family in one of their toughest years.
Michael Gaskin was diagnosed with prostate cancer three years ago, after doctors discovered markers in the routine PSA test.
The 60-year-old Emerald man had been a paramedic for almost 30 years, and was quite healthy and well, “so being diagnosed was quite a shock”.
His condition was monitored for 12 months but the cancer began to spread and surgery was needed.
Mr Gaskin said he was told he had options to use radiation or take it out.
“I asked what my chances were and he (the doctor) said ‘well if you don’t do something you’ve got five years’,” he said.
“I told him to get rid of it. I didn’t mind side effects because the other option was a pine box.”
In the same year her husband received surgery, Mrs Gaskin was also dealing with her brother-in-law’s death from brain cancer and her mother’s diagnosis of soft tissue cancer in her leg.
Despite the many challenges facing the family, Mrs Gaskin “kept on keeping on” and provided the support and distractions for her husband and two teenage children, Megan and Ben.
“There are so many pressures on everyone,” she said.
“You just need to keep routines and need to keep busy, also allowing for that quiet time to process, but then you need to get back in the boat and keep on going.
“You can’t totally focus on it - you just need to acknowledge it and then work out a plan of attack and keep on going with everything.”
Without the support of his wife, Mr Gaskin said the journey would have been a lot more difficult.
“She is just amazing,” he said.
“Wendy is very good at doing what you have to do and living life normally, as best you can.
“Sometimes you can be negative; I can be negative, but you just can’t be in that regard, and that’s where Wendy comes in; she just levels me up.”
Now having received the all-clear, Mr and Mrs Gaskin are encouraging other men and women to be proactive in having regular checks.
“With prostate cancer, if they get it early like with me, it’s totally curable, or in my case it was taken out,” Mr Gaskin said.
“I wasn’t sick, not at all, I felt fine, there were no symptoms whatsoever – just get a silly old blood test, that’s all it is.
“Get tested early, because it works and I’m living proof of it.”
KEEP ON KEEPING ON: Wendy, Ben, Megan and Michael Gaskin. Michael was diagnosed with prostate cancer three years ago.