Beloved Bundy school teacher now cancer free
THIS year wasn't looking good for Bundaberg's semi-retired school teacher Shane 'Sully' Sullivan.
On Australian Day the local legend was with friends at his local, after he was diagnosed with malignant metastatic melanoma on his neck.
The NewsMail spoke with him then about his time as a Bundaberg teacher and the influence he had on many lives around across the town.
He didn't think he'd make Christmas after news the skin cancer had spread to his lymph glands and then to his lungs.
In just one month the one spot in his lungs had turned to 30 spots.
But in true "Sully style” he took the news in his stride and continued life with full force.
In March he underwent one of the scariest moments of his life with 20 lots of radiation.
But it wasn't the radiotherapy that scared the 66 year old.
That moment came as he laid on a bed to be fitted with a bright yellow radiation mould also known as a mask or shell.
Sully has suffered from claustrophobia for as long as he could remember, and thought he'd rather deal with the cancer than be confined under plastic mesh.
With a little convincing, two eyes and a mouth hole were placed in the mould, Sully now says resembles something from Halloween, and the radiation kicked off.
With the help of an anxiety tablet to deal with the mask and an upbeat attitude Sully underwent 20 rounds of radiation.
He was then placed on a drug specifically to target the lung cancer, Nivolumab, and after several treatments a scan revealed there were no sizable pulmonary lesions.
Sully was over the moon with the news his malignant cancer which had spread was no long in his lungs.
Throughout his treatment, Sully told the NewsMail, he had only one down period where he "felt a sadness inside”.
"At the end of April there was a smudge on one of my lung scans,” he said.
"I went several weeks without any answers.
"It really makes you think about things.”
Luckily, Sully said it turned out to be "possible scar tissue”; it was a moment he won't forget.
If you look at Sully now, almost 12 months down the track, you still see the cheeky larikan inside.
"I'm on the juice now indefinitely,” he said.
"When I found out I was cancer free I went and ran amok.”
He said the message was clear to anyone who suspected they had a skin spot or even a lump, "get it checked immediately”.
"No matter what it is, cancer doesn't mess about,” Sully said.
"No matter the cost, just get it looked at.”
And the mask that terrified Sully, so much to start with, is used to teach others about the journey he went through.
"Years ago people would say I wouldn't get to 21 because of my wild attitude,” he said.
"Then they said 40 and 50.
"Now I'm hoping to get to 140, but seriously my next goal is to get to 70 and life's looking good.”