Patrick Deehan

After a long battle with a rare cancer, Patrick Deehan was told he had 2-3 months to live. He shares his story.

“It was 1993; life seemed normal until I was diagnosed with a rare cancer in the small bowel which was removed successfully. Three years later cancer was found again in the liver requiring surgery. Further liver resections followed in 2003 and 2006.

It appeared I was out of the woods. My life returned to normal until 2010, when I became unwell and scans revealed that cancer had infiltrated my liver, one of my kidneys and a large vessel to the heart.

Total disbelief consumed me. When told by a specialist that I had 2-3 months to live, further expert opinion was sought from three independent specialists, who confirmed the original diagnosis.

I’d exhausted all avenues and resigned to my fate. I was in a desperate situation and my only lifeline lay in hope – but where would this come from?

Shortly afterwards, having been taken to hospital for an unrelated minor health issue, further scans revealed and confirmed the previous diagnosis. This was a surreal moment for me and as you can imagine, my mind was racing.

Initially, the opinion was that my condition was inoperable and realistically I was given a very low chance of survival. However, one surgeon stepped forward and said, ‘we might be able to do something here’. Initially the news had been dismal, but suddenly I was given this glimmer of hope, which got my immediate attention.

After much collaboration between the surgeons, I underwent massive surgery involving seventeen skilled surgeons. Following surgery, a three-month period was spent in hospital fighting infection and kidney failure. It was six months later before my full health returned and I now have six-monthly scans to check for any abnormalities.

A battle with cancer cannot be fought alone, it needs two strong arms, namely family/friends and medical specialists. With this support, success can be achieved even when the situation appears hopeless.

Currently, I attend Pancare patient support meetings to share my story and give hope to others. If you or anyone else you know have been diagnosed with one of the cancers Pancare support, I urge you to give them a call to have a chat about their support services.”

Patrick’s story was recently printed in the MUFTI Magazine, the membership publication of the RSL. We would like to thank RSL Victoria for giving us the opportunity to share Patrick’s article.