Mayor reveals shock cancer diagnosis
NOTHING prepared Tom Tate for the moment he was told he had bowel cancer.
The Gold Coast Mayor was sitting in Benowa's Pindara Hospital with his wife and a doctor late last month to discuss the results of a minor surgery to remove polyps from his colon.
"There was a moment of disbelief because I hadn't felt any symptoms and I said to the doctor, you have got to be kidding me," the 58-year-old told the Bulletin yesterday.
"I've known plenty of guys who have had bowel cancer over the years. I never thought I would be one of them.
"The lesson from this is if I had left getting checked for another year I'd be walking around carrying a bag with my bowels cut out."
As he prepares for surgery this week to have a muscle layer of his intestine removed, the Mayor says he has been comforted in the past two weeks by his wife, Mayoress Ruth Tate, and children.
THE Tate family's health woes began in June when the Mayoress had a near-fatal heart attack while travelling with her husband in Singapore.
The shock moment led Cr Tate to have his own medical checkover at Pindara Hospital where he underwent a colonoscopy.
In early October he got the sobering news that a 4cm growth of polyps had been discovered on his bowel, requiring surgery to remove.
Initially the Mayor was pleased with the result and told the Bulletin shortly after the colonoscopy he believed he had "dodged a bullet".
"The good news is that if I had put this off for 12 months I was told it would have been bowel cancer," he said at the time.
The surgery was performed in late October, after which his doctor gave him the news too many thousands families hear across Australia each year. He had cancer and further surgery was needed..
"The main reason I decided to get a full checkout at my age was that Ruth had the cardiac arrest even though she was fit and healthy.
"For years, I had friends telling me to go and get checked but I always said no and it has taken this serious episode to wake me up.
"Please, please don't be like me, you should get yourself checked."
TREATMENT of the cancer began immediately as the Tates met with specialists and other doctors to determine the proper treatment.
The Mayor will today undergo a CT scan before surgery on Wednesday night.
Councillors were notified of the Mayor's health in a confidential email to all city leaders and council chief executive Dale Dickson last night.
Cr Tate hopes to resume his mayoral duties on November 20.
Deputy Mayor Donna Gates is expected be appointed Acting Mayor during his recovery.
MAYOR Tate admits news of his health battle has left him shaken, but he says remains positive.
"They'll do more tests again after (this week's surgery) if they show nothing, but if more (cancer) is found we will have a long journey.
"It was a hard thing to hear, especially when they showed me the photos of my bowel, both before and after.
"My attitude is a glass-half-full approach and I believe everything will be fine but my main concern is getting people to have a check-up.
"I want to be around for many years, especially to see the grandkids."
THE Mayor said this year was the worst he could remember.
Inspired by his icon, Queen Elizabeth II, he declared 2017 to be his very own Annus horribilis.
The Latin phrase, meaning "horrible year", came in popular usage after the Queen used it to describe 1992, the year in which two of her children's marriages ended and Windsor Castle caught fire.
"Right now I am looking back on it and thinking, 'wow what a year'," Cr Tate says.
"We've had Ruth's health scare, the CCC inquiry into the council and now this.
"It brings a new personal meaning to the Annus horribilis phrase the Queen once used."