Life is unpredictable. There are people who never experience a serious illness while others are not as fortunate. ahm’s Workforce and Analytics Manager, William Langston, found himself as part of the latter when it was discovered he was living with Oesophageal Cancer, something that would see him on a very slow, long, and at times painful road to recovery. According to William, Medibank’s Salary Continuance Policy saved him from even more stress than what he was already experiencing.
Before he was diagnosed, William was an avid runner and already had a few half-marathons under his belt. It was William’s running that first gave him the inclination that something wasn’t right. Noticing that the distance he was able to run had decreased significantly, he headed to his GP for a check-up. Through a process of elimination, it was discovered that he was bleeding internally, which stopped the blood carrying oxygen around the body.
“I was having trouble swallowing food so my GP sent me for a gastroscopy, which is how they found the cancer. I underwent chemotherapy and radiation before I had my major surgery in 2016, which involved having my whole oesophagus removed and 3/4 of my stomach turned into my new one,” says William.
“1/4 of my stomach was brought upwards and now sits beneath my sternum, and the rest of the stomach has been connected to my throat to become my new oesophagus. It’s an amazing procedure.”
William running a half-marathon.
During his first chemotherapy session.
As his oesophagus tends to over-heal, William is required to have regular procedures to re-widen it. So far since his major surgery, he has had 33 of these procedures.
“They were initially taking place weekly, then fortnightly and then monthly. The time apart between procedures is lengthening, which is a really great sign. I haven’t had to have it in six months!”
William was and continues to be surrounded by support, most importantly by his family. In addition to this, he has been able to put his focus on his recovery with no added work-related stress. He was in constant communication with ahm throughout his treatment and recovery and says the support he received from the organisation has been more than what he could’ve ever expected.
“I spoke to my manager at least monthly, which was great. There were never any worries on my part that I wouldn’t have a career to go back to, in fact, they insisted I took my time getting back on my feet!”
When he was first diagnosed, William was quickly advised of Medibank’s Salary Continuance Policy, which he says provided him with some financial stability to help fight his battle.
“It’s an amazing benefit and definitely took the burden off my shoulders. The policy offers you payments of 75% of your income, which is incredible. Without this policy, we would’ve struggled as, I think personally, you can only live on your savings for so long,” he says.
With his colleague, Alyse Risku.
“I was not at work for 25 months, which is a long time. This policy significantly reduced any extra stress that I would’ve had without it and has allowed my family and me to get by and live our lives. You don’t appreciate something until it affects you.”
Having gone through a serious health battle, it’s no surprise that William’s outlook on life has had an overhaul. For him, life is about picking and choosing what to invest your energy on and not sweating the small stuff.
“I’m definitely more determined to live a fuller life. I’ve learnt that some things aren’t worth worrying over and some things deserve a little bit more of my attention. I appreciate and am more grateful for life now than I have ever been. My plan is to just live a good, healthy life, I think that’s the key.”