Recent Health Issues

Carmel's Breast Cancer

In February 2016 the public health breast screening system picked up Carmel's breast cancer - requiring a mastectomy and intensive chemotherapy and other nasties.

What factors cause cancer in some people and not in others.

All I know is as far as Carmel is concerned it is unfair.

All the time I have known her, she drank the odd glass of wine; did not smoke and preferred healthy foodstuffs whereas I continue to be the opposite - in the extreme.

Stress may have been a factor - the 2005 investment disaster with our superannuation Nest Egg; two years at Waterford Park. Whatever.

It was brutal and an emotional roller coaster ride.

During the "Big C" stage, you would lie in bed next to her knowing that she had lost her hair; had lesions all over her body, discoloration of the skin; aches n pains and nausea and whimpering quietly so as not to disturb me.

Then there was the miscommunication:

  • I wish he would come 'n sit with me

  • “Maybe she wants to be alone, I’ll wait outside”

The aftermath was debilitating and niggling.

Sniffing the Flowers

Five years on, however, she has been declared Cancer Free.

Nowadays, she smiles a lot and has a legacy gift - the most beautiful natural coloured white hair that is a fashion statement of poise and elegance.

2021 Back in Hospital for Total Knee Replacement Surgery


In June 2019, I visited my GP - to obtain a script for a steroid ointment.

He took my blood pressure noticing it was unusually high. High enough to undertake an ECG - which picked up an anomaly.

Six weeks later, a cardiac intervention specialist advised that I needed immediate open heart surgery - my main arteries were 80% blocked.

I suggested that that he had the wrong guy. I had recently walked over the Kumano Heritage Wilderness Trail and I felt fine.

2019 Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery
John Flynn Hospital Cold Coast

Surgery was followed by nine days in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

This extended period was required because the medicos had trouble “kick starting” me - which resulted in a pacemaker insertion. Then there were the sessions of assisted walking and sitting up in a lounge chair.

Two memories:

On day 2-3 of post surgery I was sitting up in a chair next to my bed - bored shitless.

An ICU is a busy place. It is “open space” in design separated by curtains. Bells are ringing, buzzers monitoring; patients groaning - some yelling & screaming; staff busy and generally very serious.

I organised a prank.

On my laptop, I googled Tarzan’s Jungle Call and played it - loud.

Everyone stopped what they were doing and immediately looked around for the individual in such agony only to see this doped up Bull Ape slumped half out of his chair immitating the act of thumping his chest in Victory Over Surgery and then giving up because it was just too exhaustive.

Carmel suggested I shout the crew a box of chocolates after I left to apolgise.

We visited the surgeon’s practice two weeks after discharge.

He referred to his notes and enquired as to when did I have I have my earlier heart attack.

Carmel and I looked at each other somewhat puzzled.

Again, I said something about “you still have the wrong guy!”.

He countered stating that scar tissue on the heart clearly indicated trauma.

Well that proves it” said Carmel “He is truely insensitive to pain, sex and criticism!

... and religion

I kept on getting pneumonia resulting in a term back at John Flynn and then Calvery hospital Wagga - while on holiday,

The latter fixed me up -
Two bottles of
Holy Water with each meal was all that was required

Good on the Tykes!

The Scars

Top right - the pacemaker insertion;
Middle - sternum pinned by staples

Lower - punctures marks where drips were mounted.

Inner left leg - from the ankle to the top of the thigh was sliced to acquire the veins needed for grafting.

(Years of bike riding provided quality material)

Photo taken April 2022 - at Greg & Clare Malone's farm near Tumut

Back to bike riding and regular exercise - but not attempting mountain ranges anymore