Cancer nightmare for teen boy and his family
BEING told your child has cancer is a parent's worst nightmare, and Coondoo parents Paul and Ruth Doss have been living that nightmare since the beginning of the year.
Their youngest child, 13-year-old Euan, was in his final year of primary school last year when he started complaining about a sore ankle, leg and shoulder.
"It's just growing pains," his parents thought. And what parent hasn't thought that - and said it to their child?
Either that or it was muscle strain from Euan's love of sport and all the normal, boisterous things 13-year-old boys do.
But they took him to a doctor just before Christmas, just to be sure.
The doctor sent him for an X-ray, just to be sure. Nothing untoward was found.
Euan continued to complain about his sore shoulder.
His parents took him back to Gympie GP John Byrnes two weeks later. More X-rays were taken and this time the radiologist saw something he did not like.
More tests were organised. Euan was soon after diagnosed with osteosarcoma - a form of bone cancer.
Since then he has been on the roller coaster ride of chemotherapy at Royal Children's Hospital.
What should have been his exciting first year at Gympie State High School has become an endless rotation of hospital rooms.
Next month, Euan will undergo a 16-hour bone transplant operation that will hopefully save his life.
His prognosis is optimistic though his arm will have to be fused to his shoulder and will have only limited movement.
His devastated father has been with him all the way, despite his own serious health problems.
While Paul has maintained a bedside vigil in Brisbane, Ruth has stayed at home with Euan's 14-year-old sister, Elurie.
But Ruth is Paul's "carer" and their long stretches apart are now threatening Ruth's carer's pension with Centrelink.
The family has enlisted the help of Member for Gympie David Gibson and Federal Member for Wide Bay Warren Truss to help expedite the visa of Ruth's Filipino niece so she can stay at home with Elurie in Gympie while Ruth and Paul support each other and Euan through his treatment.
Mr Truss's office failed to respond to inquiries about the progress of the visa this week, but Paul and Ruth said they were both very grateful for all the kindness and help people had shown them since Euan's diagnosis.