What started with an innocuous injury endured while playing with his kids has sparked a life-threatening health battle for a beloved Gold Coast man.
Matthew Fydler, a teacher at Lindisfarne Anglican Grammar School, hurt his bicep while on the monkey bars at a park.
He still felt pain the following day, prompting him to see a doctor who recommended he have an ultrasound.
That uncovered a large mass initially believed to be a hematoma – a collection of blood outside a blood vessel.
“It was growing so fast in his bicep,” Fydler’s wife Amy told 7NEWS.com.au
“It went from feeling nothing to being really prominent. So he went back and did a biopsy.”
The Fydlers and doctors were shocked when the results came back as rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of cancer which forms in soft tissue. It most commonly occurs in children aged one to five.
Fydler’s treatment was fast-tracked and he underwent five weeks of radiation therapy.
He also had surgery to cut out the bicep muscle.
But more bad news came for the family.
“Within only a couple of months, it had already spread to his lungs,” said Amy.
“He’s got one in his lymph node in that right arm where he lost his bicep.
“He’s got seven tumours in his lungs.
“The doctors were shocked because it went from, ‘it’s a hematoma, it’s nothing’, to, ‘holy s***, what are we going to do?’.”
Fydler’s first lot of chemotherapy, lasting eight weeks, also didn’t provide the desired results.
“It came back that it had spread and grown. All tumours have doubled in size in eight weeks,” Amy said.
“So once again, the doctors were a bit floored in thinking, ‘what do we do?’.”
The 43-year-old’s current treatment is a chemo drug that normally targets Ewing’s sarcoma. If that doesn’t work, there’s an option to trial another drug.
Amy Fydler said “no one really knows why or how” her husband’s bicep injury may have “triggered” his illness.
“He could have had it from birth and it had been growing slowly,” she said.
While suffering the effects of the chemo and cancer, Fydler have been trying to shield his four and seven-year-old children from the full extent of his illness.
“Mentally, he does have to get himself up everyday and keep moving forward, making out like daddy’s OK,” said Amy.
“It’s been really tough. It’s been a really rough ride, but he’s been the most positive, happy and caring guy.
“We’ve just been riding the rollercoaster.”
Outpouring of support
The community of Lindisfarne Anglican Grammar School, where Fylder teaches PE, has rallied around him
More than $130,000 has been raised on GoFundMe for the family.
“Luckily we’ve got this school community and friends and family who’ve rallied around him,” said Amy.
“Everyone’s so shocked but just so amazingly supportive, to try to rally around us and just give as much support as they can.”