From Rick Davies:
As you will read from Brocky’s letter below, he has some health issues. His journey through treatment is not an easy one and I ask two things of my Classmates on his behalf. Firstly, please exercise a good deal of patience if expecting a reply after emailing him with your thoughts / best wishes as he is not always up to replying. And secondly, please do not post this message from Jeff or any associated discussion to Facebook, either our Facebook site or more generally. Best regards – Rick Davies.
Some of you may have heard a whisper recently along the lines that I have
a health issue of some concern, so I thought I had better provide some
clarity around it now if only to allay your concerns from not knowing
anything at all.
I have been pretty quiet about it so far, confining information to my current
chain-of-command (HQ 16 Aviation Brigade), immediate family and my very
closest friends – hence Ricko.
I was diagnosed with a moderately aggressive Diffuse Large B Cell
Lymphoma (cancer of the lymph system) in late Feb 21 after many tests and
biopsies. It was quite widespread and I was only then starting to notice
something seriously was amiss with me. Doctor- in-denial might better
I started chemotherapy and immunotherapy simultaneously in early April
and will continue with this until August 21 (or perhaps September)
depending on response. If the winds are favourable then, I hope to be in
remission, or close to it. I may need some radiotherapy just to finish off the
recalcitrant invaders but my haematologist/oncologist is confident that
remission will be possible. That is not a cure but it is good place to be. After
that, I will be closely monitored for at least 5 years and we will see what
happens, as is the case for all cancer sufferers. So far, the treatment has
made a big difference with a significant reduction of my cancer load.
I am still serving full-time on an age extension for 3 years and the Army has
been very supportive. I am being treated in Sydney where I now live with
my partner Rita. I am receiving great care at St Vincent’s Hospital and the
Kinghorn Cancer Centre next door in Darlinghurst.
Most of us are very private about our lives and I am no different. I am
generally aware that a number of our Classmates have, or who have had,
other serious health issues including cancer, so I don’t feel comfortable
advertising my situation if it in any way diminishes theirs. The reality for all
of us now is that we are entering that stage of our lives where health issues
will frequently alter what was once a once a peaceful and contented life into
retirement. Traditional retirement was not really on my horizon as I love my
vocation as a military physician and feel I can still contribute effectively (I
have looked after soldiers for over 40 years) to the ADF, but I will slow down
now and recalibrate.
I do not use any social media other than email and SMS / WhatsApp when I
have to, so I tend to be a bit of a true “anti-social” when it comes to social
discourse this way.
I have struggled with responding even to family in recent months just from
the sheer volume of supportive messages and emails, so please don’t feel
that you need to get in touch or message; but this is not code for saying
“don’t” if you really want to. I know that you are always there and we are a
big family. During my chemotherapy treatments I am not much of a human
for the first week after anyway and find even simple tasks like messaging
and emails a struggle.
The important message to you all though is that I am doing very well and
very positive about a good outcome in the longer term.
Am pretty much socially isolated for the next few months due to my
immunocompromised status in order to avoid Covid and other nasties like
pneumonia (which recently struck and I spent a week in hospital).
At this stage, I prefer that you keep this within our class family, but if you
do have to correct any myths that you hear along the way, then please feel
free to do so, based on this email. I know that there is no point trying to
hide things once we are here at this point.
For those of you who are experiencing poor health, I am thinking of you and
hope that you are getting good care.
I was so glad to be able to get to Callo’s funeral as sad as it was, but I had a
pretty good inkling at that time that my turn with cancer was coming. Being
a medico often just keeps your feet in touch with the real world, and that
you are a mortal like everyone else.
Very happy to communicate with you; email firstname.lastname@example.org is best
for me at the moment, and I will get back to you when I can.
Love and best wishes to you and yours.