Titans forward Leivaha Pulu has revealed the frightening moment when a doctor told him he could have died after sharp stabbing pains in his stomach led to a rushed appendectomy that could have been fatal if not treated so quickly.
A man of great faith, Pulu gave praise not only for the surgery that potentially saved his life but also the speed of his recovery that enabled him to make a triumphant return against the Sharks on Saturday night, playing 41 minutes and a critical role in the try scored by Joe Greenwood midway through the second half.
A father of two with a third on the way in the coming months, Pulu spoke to NRL.com about the dire situation he found himself in and the blessings that he has been able to take from it.
"It came as a shock," said Pulu, whose appendicitis was the latest and most unusual injury concern for a Titans team that as at times been decimated in 2017.
"I took the kids for a walk to the park and I bought them home and it just felt like someone punched me in the stomach and started ripping my guts out.
"I said to the wife, 'Something's happening here'. I said I'd go to the hospital and check it out and then the doctor said I had an inflamed appendix and I had to get it done straight away.
"He said I could die from it. It all happened so fast and now I'm back playing again so I've been blessed.
"I was lucky enough that it got noticed early and it didn't burst inside me and the doctors done a real awesome job. I give all my glory to Jesus Christ because it took me four weeks to heal and the doctor said it was going to take six weeks."
Pulu was three weeks shy of his 26th birthday when he made his NRL debut with the Titans in Round 1 last year and after two productive years with the club is leaving at the end of this season to join the Warriors.
Given the lifeline that the Titans gave him the decision to leave was one that he agonised over but he said the past three weeks have not only allowed his body to recover but given him some valuable time to spend with his family.
"Everything happens for a reason and that last three weeks I felt blessed. I took time out to have down-time with my family," Pulu said.
"I couldn't do anything for the first week so I was at home just annoying my wife and annoying my kids.
"I took time out to get my body refreshed again. Before I went down we had a couple of losses and my body wasn't holding up that well so it was awesome for me to get those three weeks off.
"As every footy player that watches from the sideline you always get that itchy feet but I had to bide my time on the sideline and wait to get my opportunity again. I got it tonight and I grabbed it with two hands."
Pulu missed the two wins against the Wests Tigers and Dragons prior to the bye but as the team made it three wins on the trot on Saturday against the Sharks and face another stern test against the Panthers this weekend he is determined to help drive Gold Coast's push for a finals berth.
"I've come out hungry and motivated," he said.
"I just want to take it up another step for the boys and hopefully make that top eight and leave on a good note because the Titans have been nothing but good to me and my family.
"The momentum and vibe around the club is awesome. The boys are playing for each other as you could see with Jarryd Hayne and those try-saving tackles everyone is there for each other."