Paramedic battling lung cancer defies the odds
JUST over 12 months ago, the lives of Greg Hardy and his family were turned upside down after a lung cancer diagnosis and life-threatening surgery complications.
The Warwick ambulance officer in charge spent 11 weeks in the Wesley Hospital in Brisbane, with five of those weeks spent in intensive care.
It has been a long road to recovery for Greg, who is set to return to work on Monday.
"I'm better at looking after patients than being one," he said.
Greg said he was not surprised by the lung cancer diagnosis revealed by x-rays.
"I think I knew but went into denial," he said.
"I had bronchitis in about September and started coughing up blood."
Greg was treated by a specialist at the Wesley Hospital, undergoing surgery to remove his right lung on December 16 last year.
"The specialist said if we had waited a couple more weeks, Greg could have bled to death," wife Rosa said.
Following the surgery, Greg suffered major complications after he developed fluid in the cavity, which placed pressure on his heart and remaining lung.
Overcoming this hurdle, Greg then faced another major setback when he developed septicaemia.
"It was about four weeks after surgery before they said he had turned the corner," Rosa said.
"The ICU staff were amazing and went well beyond the call of duty."
Greg was unconscious most of the time in ICU and awoke to find he could not walk.
"I thought I'd never walk again," Greg said.
On January 22, Greg was transferred from ICU to being his final journey.
"They knew his birthday was the 22nd, so they waited until then," Rosa said.
"The staff were all crying. There were a lot of happy tears that day."
While Rosa credits Greg's will to fight for his recovery, Greg was quick to credit his wife.
"I think she is just amazing and kept me going. I don't know how she did it," he said.
Greg said the tremendous support from his family and community motivated him during his recovery.
"The amount of support from the Warwick community really inspired me," he said.
"The staff from the ambulance were amazing and the QAS have been really supportive."
As for returning to work, Greg said it was time.
"They are a great crowd to work with, like family they are," he said.