An Update on Jeff Brock’s Health

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.

Dear Classmates,

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
describe it!

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 jeff.brock@bigpond.com 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.

Brocky

Sydney Classmates Lunch – 11 June

As is the ‘tradition’, Sydney-area based classmates and a couple of ring-ins (the Crans and the Gibsons) met at The Orient Hotel at The Rocks last Friday. Food and company were excellent – and so much of a good time was had that everyone forgot to get a group photograph!

But for the record, the following were there: Bob Blue, Trish & David Cran, John & Roseanne Croxson, Steve & Guiliana Despoges, Chris & Sue Gibson, Gerry & Annette Jones, Peter & Annaliese Lawrence, Peter & Sue Martyn, Peter and Gayle McCann, Duncan & Carmel McInnes, Don Muirhead, John and Vivienne Price and Paddy Ryan.

And a reminder: all class members are always welcome.

Queensland/Northern Rivers Get-together

On Friday 25 June, our group (currently 16 of us with partners), is having lunch at The Port Office Hotel in Brisbane City . Bob Shaw is coming from Cairns and we would like other Classmates in the area to break the shackles and come and enjoy an afternoon with us . If anyone else can make it please let Mac know: john.m.mcnamara@bigpond.com

Senate Hearing into DFRDB

On Thursday, 20 May 2021, from 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM, there will be an open hearing by the Senate FADT Reference Committee conducting the Inquiry into DFRDB.  Witnesses appearing at the hearing will be:

9.00 am, Ken Stone, Independent Advocate, (Submission 22)

9.45 am, Herb Ellerbock, ADFRA, (Submission 36)

10.30 am, Break

10.45 am, Kel Ryan, DFWA (Submission 54) Via videoconference

11.15 am, TBA, Department of Defence (Submission 39)

TBA, Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation (Submission 50)

12.00 pm, Commonwealth Ombudsman (Submission 52) Via videoconference

12.30 am, Adjurnment

On the day of the hearing, a live broadcast of proceedings will be available via the ‘Watch, Read, Listen’ page on the Australian Parliament House website: http://www.aph.gov.au/Watch_Read_Listen.

The submissions to the Inquiry, which have been posted to date, may be viewed on:  https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Foreign_Affairs_Defence_and_Trade/DFRDB/Submissions

Vale Richard Carter

Richard Carter

14 April was a cold and windy day, but the sun shone through – somehow appropriate for Richard’s funeral. Although conducted in one of the chapels at the funeral home, it was not a religious service.

Richard very obviously had a lot to do in the preparation of his own funeral: there were items in the telling of his life journey that could only have come from him. It was a special touch that Peter Jenke and Rod Allan were specifically mentioned for the support and affirmation that they’d given him over several years.

Both his sisters – twin Trish and younger sister Jacqui – spoke of a brother they loved. Their telling was honest and matter-of-fact: the acknowledged the feelings he’d had throughout his life of being socially awkward and perhaps, in his mind, of not measuring up. But the main point that they made was that he was a better person than he thought he was, and hopefully that message got through to him towards the end of his life. It was certainly one that was emphasised by his classmates who made contact in recent years.

Richard had recorded a final message, apparently just before he died, knowing that his life was about to end. There was no self-pity, but a brave facing of the inevitable. He seemed to be content, with a powerful message that he had come to understand and appreciate that interpersonal relationships and friendships were so critical in life. There was some typical Richard wry humour: we were all encouraged to look after one another, and more importantly, to make sure we had a last drink and feed on him at the tea rooms after the service! We did.

The Class of 1972 was represented by Peter Jenke, Rod Allan, Graham Smith, Tony McKenna and David Cran, along with Kerry Jenke who had been part of the support team, which included Rod’s partner Jenny who was unable to attend. Peter had loaned his old Herbie Johnson cap to be placed on the coffin to represent his Army service of 23 years (hoping that it wasn’t destined for the flames!); likewise there were some medals worn out of respect for Richard’s military service over more than two decades.

Graham Smith, Kerry Jenke, Peter Jenke, Tony McKenna, David Cran, Rod Allan

Funeral Arrangements for Richard Carter

Our classmate Richard John Carter passed away peacefully with family by his side on Good Friday 2nd April, 2021.

Family and Friends are invited to celebrate Richard’s Life at the Cumulus Chapel, Bunurong Memorial Park,
790 Frankston-Dandenong Road, Dandenong South on WEDNESDAY 14th April, 2021 commencing at 11.30A.M.
A private cremation will follow.

In lieu of flowers a donation to the Cancer Council Victoria would be appreciated. 

Should you wish to send your personal condolences to the family, you can leave a message on the
“Leave a condolence” link located on the notice at https://www.davidwbull.com.au/funeral-notice/richard-john-carter/.

Funeral – Richard Carter

At this stage details are limited, but what is known is that Richard’s funeral is at 1130hrs on Wednesday the 14th April at Bunurong Memorial Park, 790 Frankston – Dandenong Rd, Dandenong South VIC 3175.
More to follow if/as info becomes available.

Richard Carter

Details are sparse, but the information I have so far is that Richard had a fall at home in which he suffered several fractures. He was admitted to hospital where he died; I understand with his sisters Trish (his twin) and Jackie present, as well as Trish’s husband and children.

There is likely to be a private cremation, with possibly a memorial service later, but that is very much yet to be confirmed.

As previously mentioned, Richard had been supported by Peter and Rod, and that involved regular meetings for meals amongst other activities. The most recent was just last week, and Bill Houston, Graham Smith and Tony McKenna joined in as well.