IF LAUGHTER is the best medicine Geoff Forbes had best be careful he doesn’t overdose.
The Ky larrikin managed to keep smiling after weeks of chemo and radiation therapy to remove a tumour on the left side of his face.
And while his eye was a casualty, his sense of humour is well and truly intact.
“People come up to me in the street and say ‘oh, you’ve lost an eye?’ and I ask them ‘why, have you found one?’” he said.
In late October, Geoff went to the doctor for what they thought was a sinus infection; it wasn’t until November they realised it was a tumour.
Geoff was sent to St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne for treatment and spent 22 days in hospital before beginning daily radiation treatments and chemotherapy.
“It all happened in about three weeks — the doctors told me it had gone up behind my eye and had to get it before it got to the brain,” he said.
“More than anything, it was just a hassle living in the country and having to get down there and get accommodation.
“Luckily they were able to schedule my appointments late on a Monday and finishing early on the Friday so I could get home for the weekend.”
After weeks of gruelling treatment and travelling and staying in Melbourne, Geoff has managed to find the light at the end of the tunnel.
“The treatment knocks you about a bit — I had the eye for 70 years, so I was fairly attached to it,” he joked.
“With these types of things you can either drop your bundle or you can try and keep everything going and just accept it.
“It might be hard to hear but there’s no other way, you just have to accept it.”
His advice to anyone is to have a strong support network — something the Ky community is famous for.
“It’s unreal the amount of support I’ve had from locals. It’s easy to sit around worrying about yourself but I had people constantly coming to visit me,” he said.
“There’s pressure on you as the patient but it’s even worse for everyone around you.”
For his wife, Marcia, watching her husband struggle through treatment was the hardest thing.
“I’ve been his backstop through it all; I’ve known him for 45 years but I didn’t know what to expect,” she said.
“It’s not the physical change, it’s the emotional stress.”
Despite it all, Geoff considers himself lucky. Although he may have lost an eye and spent months, including time over the Christmas holidays, in Melbourne in hospital, he said there are others far worse off.
“I’ve had people saying they’re sorry for me but you have to feel sorry for the families with kids down there who are going through this every day of the week,” he said.
“We need something locally, travelling to Shepp would make everything so much easier.
“I was lucky chemo didn’t affect my appetite — although I did lose 16kg, I wouldn’t recommend the diet plan.”