Taranaki resident, Steve Roguski’s cancer journey began in November 2013 with a commonplace symptom.
“I had back pain, and it turns out that I had myeloma.”
While they sorted his back out, Steve says that it took around 20 days to diagnose him fully. He had surgery on his back, including adding screws to hold it back together. By February 2014, he was on his way to Palmerston North for radiation.
“I had to wear a body brace while the screws, and all that, healed for around three months.”
Steve’s blood cancer story does not stop there, however.
“In 2017, I got a sore throat; they did a PET scan. Then I found out that I had lymphoma AND I learned the myeloma had started to spread.”
He was being treated in Whangarei, where he was living at the time. The first step, after learning this news, was to attack the lymphoma.
“They found out that it was double-hit lymphoma, so I had to go to Auckland for treatment. I did seven cycles, I think, and then I had a stem cell transplant. After that, I started treatment for multiple myeloma.”
From there, he had two years of treatment. The treatment for his lymphoma was quite aggressive.
“You are on the drip for five days and nights. I lost all my hair; I lost my fingernails and toenails, but they did all grow back.”
Steve says that he was first connected to LBC when he was in Auckland Hospital for treatment. He says that Tim Maifeleni’s support sticks out in his mind.
“It’s just knowing that he was there, which helped.”
Sometimes, the most important gift you can give someone is showing that you care. This is especially true for caregivers when they are taking care of their sick loved ones. Steve’s wife, Joy, supported him through the process, and he recognizes that it must have been difficult for her.
“It must be hard on the carer to see how sick you are. Their entire life gets put on hold.”
Today, Steve is done with treatment and says that his outlook on life is positive.
“I feel that you are better off to be happy as opposed to being sad. I leave the treatment and that for the doctors, that’s their job to do, and my job is to be happy.”