24-One down…

Looking back through this blog, I’ve started a few by saying ‘it’s been a funny old …’

This month, I should start by writing ‘it hasn’t been funny at all…’

Well, at least even I’m struggling to find anything funny about the latest news following last month's scan. To cut a short story even shorter, I’m not out of the woods yet.

And unlikely to be.

This upshot is that so far the treatment for my throat cancer has worked well - and in fairness, physically I’m doing quite good right now. Even my sense of taste is improving marginally. And my swallowing of food is also going the right way - so to speak.

So it was pretty devastating to learn some more cancer terms, which I was aware of - but hoped wouldn’t apply to me. Because I now have secondary (or metastatic) cancer.

The scan shows two tumours developing on my right lung and one on my sternum (breastbone). Secondary cancers are named from the primary site (in my case throat) and in my case are officially metastatic throat cancer of the lung and breastbone.

It’s early days yet in terms of any proper prognosis but generally, secondaries are not normally curable. They’re treated as they develop, with chemotherapy or radiotherapy (or both), or not at all, depending on how things go.

Dr Warren Grant was of course open to all the questions I could think of and I know there’s no bullshit in his answers. So I know right now no treatment is planned - at least if nothing changes, until my next PET/CT scan in January 2021. I don’t have any pain and the tumors are not particularly large (approximately 7mm to 13mm).

So the judgement is to monitor me over the next few months and then make a further decision in January.

I was shown the last scan and talked through it. I have to say, it was pretty amazing to see a 3D computer image of my insides, traveling virtually from my feet up, as though I was laying down on my back. A number of my organs were seen (thank goodness) and the tumors are also highlighted by the ‘contrast fluid’ that I described previously. The PET bit of the scan.

I should also say that this isn’t an exact science like say, mathematics. The doctors have to make the best interpretation and judgements of the computer images that they see. But the tumors are there and even if small with no pain, it’s a huge disappointment mentally right now.

If there is some upside - and I have been digging deep to find any, at least I have some more material for my blog going forward 😉

On a lighter note...

I received a number of emails about my anecdotal story of the Haloween fancy dress sketch in 2010 and it’s given me the idea to recount some further notable (or forgettable) episodes that only Wozzer could get up to mischief in.

So here’s a quick story about Wozzer on the frontline, doing his best to destroy a temporary ceasefire between warring Cambodian and Thai troops, back in September 2010.

For a bit of background, there’s a piece of land on the Thai / Cambodia border, near the magnificent Khmer temple of Preah Vihear in northern Cambodia. The two countries have been arguing about the land nearby for a hundred years or so. Fighting flared up in 2008 and lasted on and off around three and a half years.
There's more detail here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cambodian%E2%80%93Thai_border_dispute

 

Preah Vihear Temple, on the Cambodia / Thai border. Perched on top of a cliff, over 500m up in the Dangrek Mountains

It wouldn’t have been a big issue in world affairs, except that the fighting coincided with Wozzers arrival in Cambodia. My having diplomacy skills lower than say Idi Amin didn’t help matters when I went up to the battle zone during a lull in the fighting.

Actually that’s not totally accurate. I was quite happy being 100 miles or so from the fighting.

But when the author of ‘Rough Guides for Cambodia’ made contact with the tour company I was working for, and requested logistics to visit so she could research first-hand how safe (or not) for the latest revision of the book, it did seem an opportunity not to be missed by yours truly.

So off we set with Beverly, Luna, Ta (our chief guide) and myself as driver for the day in the company Landcriuser.

 I remember the vehicle well, it was a beast of a car - ex United Nations from the UNTAC days when the UN were peacekeeping in Cambodia.

We took some essential supplies with us for the troops. Ta knew what they’d  appreciate and so, we loaded up with cases of beer - always good for fighting on.

Well it was a helluva day up there - an amazing temple and super friendly troops. Well, certainly more friendly when we cracked open the beers.

I so much wanted to fire one RPG (Rocket-propelled Grenade) across to the Thai side, just to see what would happen.

Alas, the peacekeepers wouldn't let me - no sense of adventure!

What I didn't know - and couldn't believe, was that many of the troops had their families with them on the front line - wives and kids. The army didn't get fed much by the government.

It was heartbreaking to see kids running around and playing amongst the stockpiles of munitions. This is one of the most emotive pictures I've ever taken.

A fitting way to end this little story.

8 thoughts on “24-One down…”

  1. Yo Woz. Sorry to hear of the setback and hope that these matters are resolved. The oncologists like you far too much!
    I too had, what appeared to be, a potential issue and scanned. I was told it was clear and all was fine. Scary stuff.
    It seems like the whole world has gone to pot. Hopefully next year will be better for everyone.

    Cool shots of Cambodia. Such an amazing place.

    Wishing you and the family all the best.

    Paul

    Hey Paul – yeah bit of a bummer, but it ain’t stopping me raising havoc wherever I can. I so miss Cambodia and Vietnam. I’ve a flight booked for next April, so fingers crossed the planes are flying by then!
    Best wishes to you and your too mate

    Woz

  2. Hi Wozzer not the news anyone wants to hear. There are quite a few immunotherapy options that you maybe could explore . Sending hugs to you and family please keep us updated Hazel xx

    Hiya Hazel. Yeah we’ll explore all. Right now feeling pretty good, so perhaps don’t fix what aint broke 🙂

    Woz

  3. Big hugs from Saigon mate.

    Scott – All being well, I arrive in Saigon on morning of 3rd April 2021.
    You can be certain I be headed for 33 Dang Thi Nhu – just as soon as I get downtown from Tan Son Nhat Airport. Can’t wait mate!

  4. What an amazing trip down memory lane 🙂 that photo of the little girl! We’ve all got our fingers and toes crossed for Jan, having hope and thinking positively is the best we and you can all do however hard xxx

    Yeah, that was a pretty amazing day. Quite unique. I’ve a few more stories that are past the statute of limitations for prosecution, so I’m might try slip some in over the coming months 😉

    Dad xxx

  5. Warren,
    Your blog has been an inspiration. My husband is 3 months from last treatment, so we can appreciate your journey. We are so sorry to hear of your scan results. You and your family will be in our prayers.
    Dianne- USA

    Hey Dianne – I hope your hubby is into the recovery phase now. Thanks ever so much for youyr kind words and I’ll for sure be treating this latest development with the same spirit as the last 🙂
    Woz x

  6. Sorry to hear about your setback mate, let’s hope that the new year brings some new options for your cancer treatment, great to see you remaining positive and in good humour as ever, take care love Neil and Marie x

    Hello mate. Yeah, no biggie at the moment. Nothing can be worse than the throat cancer, especially no food or beer. The next one will be treated with copious amounts of gin and tonics

  7. Hey there Wonderful Woz,
    Nani and I continue to be inspired by your generosity of spirit, positivity and strength of character. Thank you for sharing your journey – good, bad, funny and heartbreaking. You continue In the depths of your struggle to make this world and each person who knows you, better. We adore you. We add our hearts and hopes to you and all those who love you for healing and a life lived in joy and gratitude.
    Xoxo Maera & Nani

    Hey ladies! Ahh, sincere thanks for your lovely and kind words. I still fondly think of you and our great time in Siem Reap and would love to catch up again somewhere, sometime. xxx

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