If you were diagnosed with a terminal disease, it may be your first instinct to start checking things off your bucket list. Such was the case for a New Zealand man diagnosed with cancer that was expected to kill him within a couple months. The man and his wife gave away many of their worldly possessions, sold their home and began doing really whatever they wanted.
Nearly two years later, Frank, 69, was told he actually didn't have cancer. At this point, he and his wife, Wilma, were $80,000 in the hole.
The New Zealand Herald reports Frank and Wilma after his initial diagnosis in May 2010 with a deadly form of cancer in his heart tissue sold or gave away much of what they owned, including Frank's handyman company. They began taking extravagant trips and even started a separate business, which eventually fell under.
After living it up, the pair returned home to "wait for Frank to die," but death never came. In fact, Frank said "the pain never came." With that, 23 months after he was told he only had a couple months left to live, Frank's physicians found they had made a mistake. The New Zealand Herald reports Frank was tested negative for any cancer in Dec. 2011 but wasn't informed by the hospital until Feb. 2012.
Frank recounted how he found out he was perfectly healthy:
"He said, 'I'm here for the last time', and I said, 'Why'? He said, 'Well you don't have cancer'. We looked at each other and he said, 'Don't you know'?"
Now the couple, who asked their last name not be published, say they've essentially lost everything and are in debt -- a bittersweet situation for a clean bill of health:
"We had a good time. We spent too much money on food, going around New Zealand and then a business which fell down," Wilma said.
"What would you do in this situation? If he said jump I would jump ... I was putting him first, whatever he wanted, he got.
"I'm short on my credit cards for $80,000 and the money we had left went on a business and that didn't work out so we are broke."
The hospital has admitted to its mistake but stands by the physicians making the initial diagnosis based on the evidence they had at the time.
Wilma and Frank had expected his life insurance to cover the costs of their excessive life-style.