Patient Experience

Fighting Leukaemia and a Stroke

“Thank you for never giving up.”

Within one week of marrying his sweetheart, Travis Abel was in the St Vincent’s Intensive Care Unit. Diagnosed with leukaemia, complications set in, and Travis suffered a stroke. What followed was a nightmare of hope and despair, for his bride Ellie, who sat by his side night and day. Unable to speak, paralysed on his right side, and battling cancer, Travis was in a bad way. Several times, waiting by his bedside, Ellie was told to say her final goodbyes. It was a whirlwind of hope, fear, technology, medication, farewells, tears and sheer determination.

Travis spent 9 months at St Vincent’s across many wards, including ICU, the Cancer Centre, Rehabilitation, and many others. He had to learn how to walk, talk and even eat again. Speaking is still not easy for Travis, but wanted to say thank you to all the medical staff and nurses who cared for him during his treatment.

“Words can’t describe it,” he said, looking at his wife, waiting for Ellie to elaborate.
“They were there for you in those worst nights,” Ellie said, stepping into the verbal breach with practiced ease. “They would come and check on you… that in itself made those bad days a little bit better because you know you have that support.”
“I remember one of the surgeons one night he came into the room and he said: ‘we’re in a bit of strife’ and I must not have taken it very well, he came and hugged me… and you don’t get that much from surgeons.”

Travis is still on the mend, he’s back at work, and wholeheartedly agrees with Ellie, who says:
“Thanks so much to everyone who helped us”


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