Paul Mutimer had niggling back pain and was constantly tired, but he felt it was due to his workload as a psychologist and his age. At 57 being tired and suffering some back pain is not an uncommon story. His wife, however, was not convinced and finally got him to see a GP. Blood tests and an MRI for the back pain were ordered. Shortly afterwards Paul was sitting in a Haematologist’s office hearing those 5 little words ‘you have a blood cancer’.
The news was a shock, he wanted time to try alternative treatments as the thought of starting chemotherapy to control his myeloma was just too much for someone who had never previously taken medication. Sadly, time was not on his side. One of his tumours was too close to his spinal cord and he needed treatment fast. A stem cell transplant was the best chance for remission. However, after enduring a gruelling chemotherapy regimen to prepare his body for the transplant and a long post-transplant recovery he was completely devasted to learn the cancer was back within weeks. Paul has endured more than 250 chemotherapy sessions and 40 radiation sessions over 7 years to keep his myeloma under control.
Many cancer patients seek ways of coping, compartmentalising and just getting to grips with their cancer by searching out new ways of living. For many, the road leads to meditation, but Paul has been a dedicated meditator for the last 44 years. He needed to find some other way of seeking a purpose. Paul turned his focus to writing developing his character The Simple Man. There are now three volumes of The Simple Man all bringing to life the value of living in the present moment. Further adding to Paul’s sense of purpose was a chance meeting with an old mate who was dealing with his own medical issues. The two of them got busy talking, reminiscing, dreaming and scheming.
The dream was to seek out an old Kombi, abscond responsibilities and be free. Their search is a story of mateship, courage and support. It gave them a focus, plenty of laughs and helped them build a community. Their journey is being captured on film with the adventure culminating in a Kombi van trip along The Great Ocean Road this October.
It’s not a cancer story but a story of adventure seeking a sense of purpose and remembering to be present along the way. Paul is seeking funding for the documentary to be edited. They have received some wonderful support (along the way) but are now asking those with a love of adventure, Kombi vans and documentaries to lend a hand. The support page is attached if you care to help the Simple Man be a very Happy Man.