Parents never expect their child to predecease them, but that is what happened to Janice and Peter Read. Just three weeks before his 55th birthday, on the 2nd April 2018, their son Darren died. It was 53 weeks from diagnosis to his passing. Peter Read tells the story of his sons’ diagnosis and passing from cancer.
“Our son Darren and his wife Karyn had just returned home to Melbourne in October 2017, from a fabulous holiday in Canada, when Darren’s symptoms appeared.“
“Darren experienced feelings of intense lethargy, so much that he couldn’t focus at work. He firstly attributed the tiredness to a busy holiday schedule followed by a busy Christmas 2017.
“Straight after Christmas 2017, Darren noticed numerous small lumps under his left arm and in his upper chest. He went straight to the GP who carried out biopsies on the lumps. The results showed the lumps were melanomas.
From January 2018 onwards, Darren & Karyn’s life changed dramatically.
“Darren underwent further tests and treatments and learned the melanomas had metastasised to Darren’s brain. He underwent brain surgery on 20 February 2018.
“Regrettably, only 3 of 5 melanoma’s were able to be removed from Darren’s brain. It was hoped following recovery after the surgery, he could commence radiotherapy then immunotherapy to shrink the remaining melanomas.
“Disappointingly, after one week of radiotherapy treatment, Darren deteriorated rapidly. Further tests revealed the melanomas had spread even further throughout his body and showed even more vigorous development in his brain.
Mr Read said the neurosurgeons and oncologists all agreed further surgery was not recommended. In late March 2018, Darren was transferred to palliative care where he passed eight days later.
Mr & Mrs Read spent two and half months prior to Darren’s death travelling from Adelaide to Melbourne, trying to process what was happening, while trying to support Karyn and spend precious time with Darren.
“Sadly, during this time, Darren exhibited the full effect of what brain cancer can do. Darren just wasn’t himself. Typical of patients with Melanomas’ that metastasise to the brain, his behaviour became illogical and erratic, before he lapsed into a coma and passed three days later,” Mr Read said.
“The most difficult aspect was knowing there was nothing that could be done to help Darren other than be with him.
“Our son’s death from cancer was, and still is, extremely painful for all of us, his wife, and his sister included. The speed with which events transpired, from diagnosis to his passing was almost too much to grasp.
“Today, we sincerely sympathise with those who have lost loved ones to cancer, and we are so grateful for the work of organisations like ACRF for their work funding research across Australia, for all cancers. “