By Robert Bicknell
OK, let’s get this out of the way right off the bat… I have been diagnosed with cancer.
I also have to say, right from the top, that I am quite humbled by the number of people who have reached out and stepped up to help me, especially in the golf community. I am quite touched by your efforts and concern. Words cannot convey the depth of my gratitude and appreciation, and for once, I am speechless.
In a nutshell, what I thought was a sore back brought on by a change in my golf swing, turned out to be a whole lot more than I, or many doctors thought and, believe me, there were a few who really blew it. It was the docs at Columbia Asia who figured it out and got my ass over to FV Cancer Hospital for the full diagnosis. To them, I owe a lot.
I’ve got secondary malignant cancerous tumors on my spine, and we’re still looking for the primary source, but they suspect it’s the prostate. We will see. At this time I am getting radiation therapy on the spine to reduce the pain and then the docs go hunting.
When they give you morphine and the pain just laughs at it, you know you’re in trouble but I will continue to fight and I’m determined not to let this disease beat me.
Now then, let me give you some advice, and if you’re smart, you’ll listen… First of all, Cancer is not something that happens to the “other guy”. It can happen to you, your family or anyone and it’s an insidious disease. It strikes out of the blue, often with little warning. This is why getting an annual physical exam is so important. For guys over 50, you should be getting a prostate exam for sure. That little walnut can cause you more misery than you want.
If you want to avoid the old “digital exam” (aka the finger) which most men hate, at least get a PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen) test. A colonoscopy is also one that’s necessary.
If your doctor says do it, then shut up and do it.
OK, we know our own bodies pretty well, so if something doesn’t feel right, get it checked out. Don’t wait until it blows up into something that could have been avoided.
Lastly, GET INSURANCE… this is one of those things where skimping is not in your best interest. In my case, my last policy lapsed and I had not yet found a new one… so naturally, this illness struck while I was uninsured. This is NOT a good feeling and, believe me, you don’t want it.
Better to keep your policy current and, if you don’t have insurance, get some today. You don’t have to go for the top of the line international policies. If you plan on living in Việt Nam for a long period of time, Bảo Việt and other local insurers have policies which won’t break your bank.
In my case, I am very fortunate to have people rallying to my cause and, should I survive this fight, you can bet I will do the same for all of them.
Oh yes, as this is a golf column, I am going with Brooks Koepka for the Open Championship. If not him, the sentimental favourites have to be Tiger and Phil. Dustin Johnson is always a major threat, but on an Open Course, with the tight fairways, killer rough and wind, his length might be more of a hindrance than a help.
Well, another radiation treatment awaits me and the fight has just begun. VNS