That’s who’s above in this photo, of course. Phil on the left, with his son Alex.
Those who’ve been with Ausdroid for awhile have probably noticed Phil hasn’t been posting stories for a little while, and we thought it was time to tell you why. What follows is an abridged version of the story — we don’t want to alter Phil’s words too much.
On the 3rd of January 2013, Phil’s son Alex was diagnosed with a brain tumour which required immediate neurosurgery to remove. What followed the diagnosis can only be described as the worst two weeks of Phil’s life to date. An emotional roller coaster ride that no parent should ever have to endure and there’s nothing anyone could ever say to you or do to prepare you for.
Since the surgery and the immediate aftermath, the dust has certainly settled which has allowed the Tann family to collect their thoughts and do some (although the situation doesn’t allow much) planning for the near future. The tumour was cancerous and this sadly means that Alex and family have started what is referred to as “The Journey” through Chemotherapy. For anyone who’s super keen, the drugs are as follows (we’ve linked to the Wikipedia articles for more information):
Separately to the tumour and chemotherapy, the location of the tumour was such that Alex has lost his vision as the pathway through the brain was interrupted. While doctors are hopeful that Alex’s vision will return, for the time being, Alex is getting by without it (and by all reports, quite well).
As word of this spread through Phil’s friends, family, colleagues and even general acquaintances through business or personal dealings, offers of assistance kept rolling in. For this Phil and his wife would like to say thank you to anyone and everyone who’s made offers of assistance to them; they truly appreciate the love and support. It’s allowing them the extra time to focus on the kids right now which is very important.
Fortunately Phil, Alex and family are not going through this without assistance. A number of community organisations have made offers of assistance, including:
Each who offer their own unique support: either with support around the home, making it safer for Alex with his current lack of vision, technology assistance, general support to the family or “anything” else in this support banner. Phil has been truly astounded as to the amount of community based support out there, it’s amazing and he simply can’t say enough good things about the staff of the organisations mentioned as well as the staff at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital as to the care that has been given to Alex (and Phil) while in hospital.
Phil’s employers (not us, his real ones) have also been a huge support — they’ve basically told Phil to look after his family, and they’ll deal with leave and pay issues later, allowing Phil to continue to receive a regular income and to support his family. Truly great employers they must be.
Despite all of the things that have occurred over the last couple of weeks, Alex has continued to take everything in his stride. His vision was cut off by the pressure of the tumour, which is yet to return. He is (not badly as yet) nauseated by the drugs that he’s getting on a daily basis at the moment yet continued to ask for the foods he loves. Despite the intermittent nausea and lack of vision, he continues to play with toys, chat to anyone and EVERYONE that enters the area he’s in, he’s happy, playful and continues to entertain everyone on a daily basis.
All of us at Ausdroid wish Phil, Alex and their family all the best. I’m sure you’ll join us.