Steve Morgan woke from an 11 hour surgery to remove his oesophageal cancer to discover his wife Sophie had given birth to their newborn daughter just down the hallway.
In the maternity wing of University Hospital Geelong arrived Georgie, two weeks early and a ray of sunshine during a challenging time.
“The nurses from the maternity ward arranged for Sophie and Georgie to visit me in ICU at about 11.30pm and we were able to have a cuddle and photos,” says Steve. “Apparently having a newborn visit their dad in ICU was a hospital first.”
The Highton dad’s cancer journey began with severe stomach pains in August 2019.
The discomfort came out of nowhere, persisted for a few days and steadily got worse.
He went to emergency twice and eventually had an exploratory gastroscopy.
The following afternoon he was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer.
“As a healthy 38 year old non-smoker and limited drinker with previous good health this was obviously a big shock,” he says.
“Interestingly the doctor could not find a link between my stomach pain and the cancer. It seems it was an incidental finding which likely saved my life - a good lesson to always get checked out by a doctor when you are sick, and keep going back if you don’t get better.”
Thankfully, Steve’s cancer was in the early stages but he still required a major surgery to remove the cancerous area along with a large portion of his oesophagus and some of his stomach which was scheduled for two weeks later.
An infection and subsequent complications saw an expected two week hospital stay extend to two months followed by Hospital in the Home care.
Now, he is cancer free, back at work, exercising well, managing fatigue and food better each month.
“Most importantly, I’m playing with Georgie and Emilia just like a normal dad,” he says.
Steve is under no illusions that the care he received at Barwon Health gave him that gift which is why this year, he has signed on as a Dry July ambassador.
“The fact that I could have major surgery, access to quality intensive care and the availability of the Andrew Love Cancer Centre just 10 minutes from home can’t be underestimated,” he says.
“Cancer touches everyone in some way so being involved or donating to Dry July will have a positive impact on everyone at some stage of their lives, whether it be themselves or a loved one.
“I can’t think of anything more important than improving local care for those experiencing serious health issues and would encourage everyone to fundraise or donate their time or money in any way they can.”
Sign up at dryjuly.com and select Andrew Love Cancer Centre to ensure funds raised support your local health service. Head here to read Steve's full story: https://www.dryjuly.com/2021/steves-story