Rome Torti back on the Gold Coast after having brain surgery in Sydney. Photo: Supplied
Rome Torti is back home.
The 31-year-old arrived back on the Gold Coast on Thursday, just two weeks after neuro-surgeon Charlie Teo cut into his brain to remove an incurable cancer.
The eight-hour operation, described by Dr Teo as one of the worst he has encountered in his career, gave Rome another half-decade with his family. However it took away much of the movement on his right hand side.
But for a pretty laid back guy, Rome has made a habit of defying dire predictions. And now from his temporary home at the Gold Coast University Hospital, his wife Rachel says it doesn't look like he is going to start changing that.
“As soon as we landed on the Gold Coast it was the best feeling to know that we were home,” Rachel said.
“It is not that we weren't be treated properly in Sydney or that everyone wasn't good to us down there, everyone was wonderful.
“It was just such a big relief to come home.”
As soon as the Tortis landed back in Queensland, Rome was loaded onto a stretcher and taken straight to the hospital “where the staff have been outstanding”.
“Everyone there has just been so helpful,” Rachel said.
“He has already seen the occupational therapist, the speech therapist, the physio, so we have hit the ground running.
“He is in an oncology ward right now, but they'll be moving him into the rehab ward hopefully on Monday.”
But Rachel said they couldn't have made it this far without the generosity of friends, loved ones and strangers.
A fundraising campaign was set up for the family to help pay for the $75,000 operation, without which Rome would have died within weeks, and his ongoing care.
More than $100,000 has been raised in total, with friends and family hoping to take away the financial burden and allow the Tortis to concentrate on what's important – Rome's recovery and just being together.
“Everyone has been so amazing. We had bought Ryder (the couple's young son) a trampoline for Christmas, before we knew Rome would be having the operation, but just had to leave everything and go down to Sydney," she said.
"We came back to find that the guy who goes round and sets them up for people, he built it for free for us.
"My mum has moved here from New Zealand, and given up her life and job and house to come and help.
"Just so many people have done so many amazing things. We have been very, very lucky with all that support.
"People are amazing."