CAM Libbis is close to 12 months into remission from Hodgkin’s lymphoma, but the 32-year-old never questioned why he got sick.
Mr Libbis, who grew up in Colac and lives at Torquay, spoke to the Colac Herald about his recovery from a diagnosis of stage-four of the disease, which is a blood cancer.
“I just got really sick,” the son of Greg and Dianne Libbis said.
“The way that it started I was having really strong abdominal pain, drenching night sweats, so I’d just wake up in the middle of the night basically wet, it was hideous.
“And then if I drank alcohol I’d just get really sharp pains in my stomach, and that’s a real trigger for Hodgkin’s lymphoma, alcohol brings on abdominal pain.”
Mr Libbis visited his GP and had tests before he discovered a lump near his collarbone.
Doctors removed the lump immediately and sent it off for a biopsy, but it was eight days before he received his diagnosis.
“So that was a pretty tense week and a bit,” Mr Libbis said.
“It was pretty surreal, you know that the two weeks leading up to it, you know I’m thinking I’ve potentially got cancer and then getting that phone call from the GP, saying ‘yeah it’s come back positive’,” he said.
“I sort of thought, oh well, let’s do it, let’s get into it and start treatment.”
Mr Libbis started six months of chemotherapy to treat the disease.
“I guess I approached it in the sense that, yeah I’ve got cancer, but it didn’t suit me, and so I just thought well I’d let it come for a ride for a while, and I know that it doesn’t suit me so it’s going to go and it did,” he said.
Mr Libbis received a diagnosis of being in remission about six months later.
“I was just super positive throughout the whole thing, I had great people around me,” he said.
“Every day is important to me that I am in remission because every day is a step closer to being cured.”
Mr Libbis hopes to return to work in disability services, but has to overcome final back surgery for an injury he suffered in a car crash in 2011, before his diagnosis.
Two vehicles rear-ended Mr Libbis’s vehicle and he suffered a herniated disc and other complications and has already had two bone graft operations to fix the problem.
“The sooner I get my back sorted, the sooner life continues, well normality comes back,” Mr Libbis said.