Ots User Support Forums

The Social Zone! => The Lounge. No business, just chit chat. => Topic started by: milky on November 14, 2019, 08:25:35 am



Title: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Post by: milky on November 14, 2019, 08:25:35 am
The subject line is (hopefully) a little premature, but, I have to announce that I am going into hospital for some very major surgery. It will entail the removal of a large part of my tongue, several throat lymph nodes and all of the connected nerves around the area. Ultimately, I will also lose the teeth that I have nurtured and preserved for 70 years.
In place of the tongue, the surgeons will graft a piece of tissue from my wrist, reducing the functionality my left hand. The nerves that allow me to raise my left arm above shoulder height will be destroyed.

Those of you who know me will also know that I am a musician who plays keyboards and numerous stringed instruments, so the loss of that functionality alone is devastating. I have also worked in radio and voiced many, many commercials, so the loss of a tongue will severely inhibit those options.

With M*A*S*H, the actors lived on, as will I, but I will need to evaluate my future in a different light.

Serving on and contributing to this forum has been a large part of my life for a very long time - something like twenty years. I will continue to use Ots, and so, I may be able to provide advice to others into the future, and I look forward to that.  I don't know what the future holds. None of us do. I just hope that I can use what skills I have for as long as I can to make others' lives better.

This news hit me in the middle of one of the worst fire seasons we have ever experienced in eastern Australia. I am flat out, counselling weary firefighters who feel they have let people down because they couldn't save their home, yet who have given their all to keep the inferno contained. I have comforted those who have lost everything, administered medical aid to the injured and burned and, yes, as an MD, pronounced two people dead and signed their death certificates.

Sometimes, "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen" would be a good epitaph, but, I am made of sterner stuff. Watch this space.


Title: Re: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Post by: Jumpin' Jeff on November 14, 2019, 07:23:12 pm
James, I am so sorry to hear this. I know last time we spoke, you had some concerns you were battling. Obviously things have gotten more serious. Very unfortunate!

You are in my thoughts!


Title: Re: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Post by: mixfm on November 15, 2019, 01:04:31 am
Hi Milky,

Your name is familiar to me from my time in these forums over the years; not as extensive as your time here but from around 2003 onwards nonetheless.  I recall quite a number of times having joined you, or you having joined me in the same thread to assist fellow Ots users with various queries.  Sometimes we end up giving similar advice, and other times our solutions achieve the same outcome but are approached in completely different ways.

Particularly in my early years in these forums I remember being super keen to be the first to help a user with a particular query, and I remember wanting to "race" you to it, because I noticed that you would also reply to queries very quickly. "If I don't type my reply quickly Milky will beat me to it" was what I remember thinking on many occasions :-)

All the best Milky, and although life for you will be quite different after the operation in the ways that you have explained, I do hope that things go as well as they can, and hope to see you kicking around these parts of the Interwebs once again.

From across the ditch, Ka Kite Ano.

Edwin (Mix FM)


Title: Re: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Post by: socialdancer on November 15, 2019, 06:10:21 am
OMG! What can we say?

You sound incredibly positive.  Probably your background and training contributes to that but I'm sure it will help pull you through what is to come.  You're far too valuable for it not to.

I'm keeping everything crossed and thinking of you...

Howard


Title: Re: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Post by: Dr.J on November 15, 2019, 09:55:19 pm
Milky,

I hope all goes as well as possible with the forthcoming surgeries and pending recovery. Although I only know you through the posts on this site, you are one of the most resilient individuals I know (Doctor, Firefighter, Therapist, et al.). It's been an honour to share these message boards with you for the past 20 years and I look forward to your posts for many years to come.

Take care my friend.


Title: Re: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Post by: Jigger on November 15, 2019, 10:46:03 pm
Milky my hope and thoughts are with you, I think we have been on this forum about the same amount of time. I also know the amount of work you do away from this forum supporting people through trying times. I look forward to more posts from you after the surgery.
We are thousands of miles apart but we are with you.


Title: Re: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Post by: Jammin' Adam on November 16, 2019, 04:59:37 pm
Very saddened to read this, I wish you all the best and will pray for very, very positive results for you James. Good luck my friend.


Title: Re: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Post by: Tim Gainer on November 17, 2019, 03:44:11 am
Holy crap, dude!

 :ohmy:

SO sorry to hear about this. You have been a fixture of this forum and a supporter of and for so many of us here and beyond. Godspeed to you and whatever comes to pass. Sending prayers and positive vibes to you from across the pond during this most diifficult period. Keep us posted when you can.


Title: Re: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Post by: clover-leaf-productions on November 17, 2019, 10:32:48 am
See what happens, my computer breaks down, and so does Dr. James!

Well I have fixed the computer, and am transferring files as I type.  This too will be the same for you my friend.  Those doctors will fix you, and you will begin to transfer your thoughts to new, and more creative ways to use your many talents in a positive way that will affect all of those around you.

This is not your fist go around with the Cancer Monster, but through good medicine, and meditation I am confident you will beat it again.

All of my very best to you my friend.


Title: Re: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Post by: milky on November 19, 2019, 02:54:47 am
Thanks, guys, for your kind words and concerns. I'll keep you posted on my journey.


Title: Re: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Post by: Ed on November 20, 2019, 08:42:33 am
God Bless


Title: Re: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Post by: clover-leaf-productions on November 21, 2019, 03:48:08 pm
Greetings Dr. James!

Have they scheduled a time for your procedure yet?  We are all pulling for you, and just want to stay on top of the calendar of events so we can support you, as best we can. :thumbsup:


Title: Re: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Post by: milky on November 22, 2019, 03:03:54 pm
I go in on the 3rd December for prep. Probably hack me up on the 4th.


Title: Re: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Post by: Lane on November 25, 2019, 07:03:15 am
May you have the best possible outcome.


Title: Re: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Post by: Jammin' Adam on November 25, 2019, 08:16:59 pm
The 3rd will be my 60th birth anniversary, and I know what I will wish for before blowing out the candles.


Title: Re: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Post by: milky on December 02, 2019, 02:06:26 pm
Happy Birthday Anniversary for the 3rd, Adam, and thank you again for your best wishes.


Title: Re: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Post by: scott hanna on December 02, 2019, 03:44:20 pm
Best of luck. Thanks for all of your help to date


Title: Re: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Post by: clover-leaf-productions on December 05, 2019, 03:51:08 pm
I feel like an expectant parent all over again; and it's been many years since I did that pacing ritual.

I've got all of my fingers, and toes crossed for our friend the good doctor, and some good news that should be coming his way from his doctors! :thumbsup:


Title: Re: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Post by: milky on December 11, 2019, 08:15:17 am
Hi All. Just a quick note via my phone to let you know that the procedure went very well and I am in recovery. This will take up to Xmas as I learn to speak, eat swallow and all those things we mostly take for granted. I'll post much more details when I can get to a real PC. Forum software is not very smartphone friendly.


Title: Re: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Post by: mixfm on December 11, 2019, 01:26:18 pm
Good to hear from you Milky. It sounds like the procedure went as planned.

I hope you're able to take it easy over the next few weeks as you re-learn those skills that - as you put - we mostly just take for granted.  I hope the prognosis is positive from here onwards.


Title: Re: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Post by: clover-leaf-productions on December 11, 2019, 03:50:30 pm
Well Done my Friend!

Now your prescription is simple; let those caring hospital types do their job, and take good car of you.  They will help you along your path to recovery.

You have been there for so many years helping others through difficult times.  It is part of your giving nature.  Now you have to learn to be a gracious accepter of care.  Your road will seem at an end before you realize it.  You will be felling more like your old self, back at home with the grape orchard, and enjoying some well earned relaxation. :thumbsup:


Title: Re: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Post by: Jammin' Adam on December 15, 2019, 12:18:53 am
Good to read! Very glad things went well, didn't do too much on the birth anniversary, other than work and hope things were going good with you.


Title: Re: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Post by: milky on December 15, 2019, 05:18:52 pm
Hi guys. I finally got my laptop set up at my sister's, so can tell the story on a screen that works a whole lot better than a smartphone.

The operation was officially called a "partial glossectomy + bilateral neck dissection + tracheostomy + dental extraction + left radial forearm anterior tongue exophytic lesion". In layman's terms, they cut the entire left side of my tongue off (which contained the Squamous Cell Carcinoma), from the centre line. They then excised a chunk of my left wrist just where you would normally take a patient's pulse. This was important, because thy needed the arteries for the graft.

The flap was then grafted onto the tongue and shaped to form a rudimentary replacement, the arteries were micro sewn and the two halved joined. Then some skin was harvested from my thigh and grafted over the donor area.

Along the way 12 "chewing teeth" were also removed, although perfectly healthy. This is in preparation for the radiology which may be necessary to ensure all cells are completely eradicated. All I have left are the "biting teeth" at the front.

The operation was a complete success, the graft took well (they had two little Doppler sensors attached to my neck so that they could hear the blood coursing through the newly attached arteries). Because they anticipated that the tongue and graft would swell in my mouth, making breathing impossible, they performed a tracheotomy and I breathed through that until it was removed 8 days later. I am now waiting for the hole to heal over, so meanwhile, I have to press a dressing against the hole to speak or cough.

The prognosis is good, although I won't get the official verdict on that until 23rd, after all contributing surgeons have met and agreed on post-op management. The voice is still strong, but, sadly, I will probably always talk with a Donald Duck type lisp. This may improve as the nerves in the flap meet up with the remaining tongue nerves and it starts to react as a whole unit.

I am actually part of the way through exams to the Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, and I am in awe of the skills of the team who worked on me and can't thank them enough. I'll keep you updated as the journey unravels.


Title: Re: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Post by: Jigger on December 16, 2019, 11:11:09 pm
That is excellent news Milky and as always impressed with your ability to explain the procedure. Keep doing well we are all with you.


Title: Re: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Post by: clover-leaf-productions on December 17, 2019, 03:38:48 pm
.... And as the finest dog trainers say, "HEAL!"   :laugh:


Title: Re: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Post by: Jammin' Adam on December 19, 2019, 08:27:01 pm
My B/D thought's were positive! Very happy the procedure went well for you Milky, take care and get healed.


Title: Re: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Post by: Dr.J on December 22, 2019, 02:56:20 am
Great news! Glad you are on the road to recovery. Thanks for the explanation of the operation. I'm in awe of those performing small miracles. Best wishes for you and a speedy recovery.


Title: Re: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Post by: Jumpin' Jeff on December 26, 2019, 02:05:49 pm
Glad to hear your still with us Milky! Sounds like it was pretty serious, but glad you are in good spirits, and recovering well!Merry Christmas to you friend, and wishing you a much happier/healthier new year!


Title: Re: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Post by: Tim Gainer on January 29, 2020, 03:43:10 pm
God, James - SO glad to hear all went well. Major surgeries are always a hard road back but you sound like you're flying through it with vigor. Keep fighting the good fight. I have a feeling we'll be hearing your dulcet tones again before long. Still praying and sending positive vibes to you. give 'em hell!!  :thumbsup:


Title: Re: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Post by: milky on January 30, 2020, 02:20:07 pm
Two weeks into a 5 week stint of radiation treatment. It's draining, and leaves the local area somewhat "toasted", but I feel fine otherwise.

I'm still meditating the ****** off this thing, so we should have a good prognosis.


Title: Re: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Post by: milky on February 21, 2020, 04:11:41 am
Five days next week and three the following, and I'm done.
I have massive mouth ulcers, and can't taste anything, so eating is a real chore. Let's all think positively. This will work.


Title: Re: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Post by: Dr.J on February 22, 2020, 11:22:26 pm
Positive vibes radiating your way!


Title: Re: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Post by: Jigger on February 24, 2020, 11:48:14 pm
With you all the way Milky.


Title: Re: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Post by: clover-leaf-productions on February 26, 2020, 05:07:23 pm
It takes a lot to keep the Doctor down!  Keep moving forward Buddy!


Title: Re: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Post by: milky on February 26, 2020, 11:38:03 pm
Thanks guys. Weekend off, then last two sessions,Monday, Tuesday. :thumbsup:


Title: Re: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Post by: Jumpin' Jeff on February 27, 2020, 06:39:58 pm
Glad to hear you're nearing the end of treatments.


Title: Re: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Post by: scott hanna on February 29, 2020, 11:49:15 am
Almost there. You got this!!


Title: Re: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Post by: Ed on March 06, 2020, 10:24:53 am
May God Bless you James


Title: Re: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Post by: milky on March 06, 2020, 04:09:33 pm
Thanks everyone for your wishes and support. The radiology was just awful - an experience I wouldn't wish on anyone. It's hard to get my head around using deadly radiation in an attempt to make you better.

However, apart from sporting a George Hamilton tan around my neck area and very tender internal throat "bits", which I am told are only temporary, I feel great and optimistic for a positive prognosis.

The attached image is of the custom made mask that was used to hold me in to correct position to ensure the radiation got to the right places. Not good is you are claustrophobic!


Title: Re: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Post by: clover-leaf-productions on March 09, 2020, 03:43:01 pm
There you go with that get up now you can take up a career in Fencing.  :)

Please keep us up to date.


Title: Re: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Post by: milky on April 06, 2020, 05:26:34 pm
What a difference a couple of months make!
Back in December, I was languishing in ICU after undergoing the operations documented above. I seem to be in a holding pattern. With cancer you never say you are cured until 5 years of clear results are accumulated.

However, as an MD, I have gone back to working closely with some of the Corona Virus patients. It's a risk - any exposure to such an active nasty is, but I felt that it was the least I could do to show my gratitude to the dedicated team who gave me a second chance.

Stay safe and ISOLATE, people. This virus incubates very quickly, with the slightest of exposure, so practise social distancing so it can't get a hold.


Title: Re: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Post by: Jigger on April 07, 2020, 12:27:08 am
Its good to see you are doing what you have always done, that is helping helping others, You know better than anyone the kind of illness covid 19 is so you take care of yourself and stay safe.


Title: Re: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Post by: Dr.J on April 08, 2020, 09:13:36 pm
Great to hear you are getting back to "normal," helping others in their time of need.
Stay safe and stay healthy.


Title: Re: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Post by: scott hanna on April 10, 2020, 12:04:29 pm
Thanks so much for your work and so glad to hear you are back up and running


Title: Re: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Post by: DJ Nikki on May 06, 2020, 07:53:14 pm
Hi everyone..
I have been following this for awhile now, on my phone, but it wasn't able to post any responses. I finally got my laptop up and running, so here I am!

Milky, I hope you are doing well and are safe and healthy through this pandemic. I admire you greatly, for jumping back in the saddle and helping people through this.

Post and let us all know soon, how you are holding up.

We love you!!


Title: Re: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Post by: milky on May 08, 2020, 06:29:28 am
Ah Sweet Nikki, it is so wonderful to hear from you. I am in a "currently healed" state, and using a little of my energy to keep it that way, plus diverting most of the rest to assisting in this pandemic thing. I am so humbled by the efforts of many of the people around me, so I am just do thw things I am authorised to do, like write prescriptions if needed.

We went through a period where we didn't have PPE (safety equipment) and that was scary because we had to make decisions on who could enter various critical areas.

I am focusing on the elderly. They are so vulnerable (as am I, I guess). The state I live in has an amazing record, and we recently passed out 14th day of no new infections. That was with some very visionary lockdown rule by our government. For that, I am grateful, but it still means 15 hour days dealing with those who have been afflicted.

I am fortunate. None have actually died on my watch, but some are gravely ill, with every breath a precious gift.
 


Title: Re: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Post by: clover-leaf-productions on August 08, 2020, 12:48:37 pm
Sorry to be late responding to this happy party for The Good Doctor.  My big file server crashed at the start of May, and it has taken me this long to get things back up, and running.

Dr. Milky I knew you would be out there amongst the masses helping in all of the ways that you can.  You are an inspiration of perseverance to us all!  Keep thinking the positive thoughts to keep the Cancer away.  The mind is a strong healer, as you well know.

On another note it is good to see our friend Nikki around again!  You look great raockin' the red hair!


Title: Re: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Post by: milky on August 09, 2020, 05:47:07 pm
Great to hear from you, C-L-P.
At this stage, the Big C seems to have moved on to other poor unfortunates. I am attending a review every three months, with the next one due in September. If I make it through to December, I am one fifth of the way to being declared "cancer free", so that is the goal for now.

Whilst we don't boast the horrific numbers you are getting in the US, we still have some hot spots where Covid-19 is forcing businesses to close and many citizens in lock-down. Where I live, we are naturally isolated by distance with most living on large vineyard or fruit block properties, but we are not far from the Victorian border, where our worst cases are being reported.
I volunteer at a test station where we take samples from those who suspect that they may have been exposed to the bug, or who are showing symptoms, and, as an MD, I am on standby to work in ICU at the local hospital if a breakout occurs in this area. As an older person and a cancer survivor, I am considered more vulnerable, but I'll pitch in where I can if needed.

Stay safe and well.


Title: Re: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Post by: DJ Nikki on October 27, 2020, 08:30:06 pm
Hi fellas..
Just popping in while I have internet access on the laptop. Its impossible to post via cell phone. I love you guys..and have missed you. I have started a factory job, after being in finance for 20 years (Covid affected things adversely) Its been a huge change, my body is hating me and I'm working 60+ hours a week at the moment, but I'm finding that my body is able to do things I never realized it could, so for that I'm grateful. Milky, I hope that this finds you still healing and doing well. And Clover, it's great to see you!


Title: Re: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Post by: milky on October 28, 2020, 03:36:44 am
Hi Nikki. It's always lovely to hear from you.
I'm sorry to hear that you lost your previous employment. There are many similar stories over there, I'm sure. We've had nothing like the number of cases that you have had, mainly because our government locked down the borders and mandated that people work from home unless an "essential industry". This meant that many businesses, especially in tourism, hospitality and those reliant on passers-by suddenly had no work. However, as tough as it was for many, the alternative would have decimated our population. We are now virtually covid free, but there are still some controls in place and overseas travel is not allowed.

I am well, thank you. The review scheduled for September didn't happen - now moved to Friday week, but I am quietly confident that everything is OK, and my first anniversary is just into December, so only a month after the review. Meanwhile, I am kept busy with taking swabs for covid-19 testing, and I've done some locum work for a doctor who caught the disease and had to quarantine, leaving his patient load in the lurch.

On the Ots scene, I have recently purchased a new USB to digital device which is absolutely mind-boggling. I'll publish a review on it elsewhere when I've exhausted the tweaks.


Title: Re: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Post by: Jigger on November 02, 2020, 11:14:40 pm
I am sorry to hear about having to change your Job Nikki, terrible time around the world, keep safe. Although this forum is very quiet its good to hear from friends on the forum.


Title: Re: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Post by: Jigger on November 02, 2020, 11:17:30 pm
Milky you have always been there to help others you are a gem hope all goes well with your review.


Title: Re: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen
Post by: clover-leaf-productions on November 06, 2020, 12:55:28 pm
Always good to see the old friends.  May we all continue to stay safe, and well!