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Laurence with his family

Laurence Pavone, 41

Tears rolled down my face thinking of the shaky road we were suddenly riding on.”

Laurence’s symptoms

Laurence had had a previously dormant tumour. An annual routine MRI showed that it was stable, but Laurence had been experiencing problems with his speech (jumbling words) and went for another scan. Within two months, the tumour that was barely visible was now a huge mass clearly visible on MRI.

The oncologist’s office

I felt nervous, anxious, had sweaty palms. I think deep down we both knew why we were there. We were finally going to receive the news we had dreaded for the past 15 years. As soon as I saw the image on his computer screen I thought, “Oh my god, it looks like someone has thrown a paint ball onto his brain and it’s gone splat”. You couldn’t miss it, you couldn’t unsee it. This was bad.

The diagnosis

Our oncologist came into the room with his head bowed and a nauseous look on his face. His first words were, “I’m sorry, It doesn’t look good”. He used the words ‘high grade’. We knew what that meant. He proceeded to give us the options – they were very limited. One thing we remember not receiving… hope. Treatment options had not changed or advanced in 15 years.

The room was eerily quiet. Tears rolled down my face as I tried hard to listen, trying to be strong for him, while at the same time thinking of the shaky road we were suddenly riding on. The oncologist wiped tears from his own cheek. Laurence was cool and calm. His immediate main concern was the kids and I. How were we going to tell them? How were we going to deal with this?

The journey home

The hour ride home was filled with questions and worry. Laurence kept saying, “Don’t cry, it’s all good”. The most positive and optimistic person you would ever meet, even in the face of adversity.

Laurence Pavone’s diagnosis has been generously donated by his family