Blair under the knife

One of Australian blogging’s pioneers Tim Blair has announced that he has bowel cancer and is to have major surgery tomorrow.

Tim has always been a combative and even divisive blogosphere figure, but it isn’t so widely known that he has often provided considerable behind the scenes assistance even to some other bloggers (including this writer) with rather different political orientations from his own proudly RWDB stance.

I’m sure all Troppodilians will join me in wishing Tim a complete and speedy recovery (colostomy bag jokes should probably be avoided at this point).  I should also warn that abusive comments will be deleted.

About Ken Parish

Ken Parish is a legal academic, with research areas in public law (constitutional and administrative law), civil procedure and teaching & learning theory and practice. He has been a legal academic for almost 20 years. Before that he ran a legal practice in Darwin for 15 years and was a Member of the NT Legislative Assembly for almost 4 years in the early 1990s.
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david tiley
13 years ago

That is an amazing story. and an object lesson for all of us. Go.To.The.Doctor.

Interesting that Tim is under the age at which regular testing is advised. And even when you turn fifty, GPs are not flash at putting you on the inspection routine.

Bowel cancer is the easiest cancer to treat, is easy to detect, and still kills a lot of people. Tim’s post is scarey because it paints a picture of a cancer which has developed a pretty long way.

Here’s hoping it comes out neatly and easily, leaving Tim with nothing more than a zip mark in his front and a couple of unpleasant weeks in hospital.

observa
observa
13 years ago

Ok guys listen up. There was no reason for Tim to get bowel cancer if he took my doctor’s advice and most GPs nowadays to have an annual faecal blood test from 50 onwards (I’m assuming Tim is in the over 50 danger zone here) Like most blokes I was a bit skeptical about the GP’s advice but took his kit away and followed the procedure and posted away same for about $30 on the plastic.

Essentially the kit is a barcoded cardboard thingy with 2 lift up flaps and that’s to use the 2 supplied paint brushes to swab two successive stools and mark the squares. The flaps are closed and sealed with the sticky barcode labels provided, for ID and security. You keep one barcode number and post off the test to the lab. They send you the result by letter and ditto to your doc. One year later they send you another and so on until they carry you off in a box. Basically they’re testing for faecal blood traces, which indicate the pre-cursor polyps on the bowel wall that can develop into cancers. Early detection and laser removal of these polyps almost guarantees you’ll be bowel cancer free. Now I did this test for 3 years and upon receiving my fourth test kit, I almost chucked it in the bin thinking it was a lot of paranoid hooey and a waste of money. You guessed it, that was the positive one and into day surgery to remove one large polyp under anaesthaetic. The op was nothing but the arvo before fasting and bowel flush gunk overnight before the morning op is a doozy. And you thought the O was full of shit on the blog comments eh? In your dreams! You have to have the lolly gobble bliss bombs for a laparoscopic sqiz under anaesthetic and if they find any polyps they laser them off there and then. You even get a piccy of the little blighter/s to pass around or post on youtube nowadays I guess. I’ve had another negative test returned a year after.
However, about a month after the op, would you believe, the govt sent me a freebie test kit(another type) to use as I’d turned 55 and they had decided this was cheaper than having lots of Tims clogging up the hospitals and palliative care joints. Not needing it myself right then, I got the missus to do it and send it in under my name again. Her(my?) result was negative, so it was put to good use (yeah I would have had to explain it to the doc if hers was positive)The bottom line is, bowel cancer is often fatal, but eminently avoidable with a simple annual test for the over 50s. I watched my mate’s old man wither away in 6 months from it and it’s not a pretty sight. Tim’s lucky by the sounds of things, but none of you need luck, just a small investment in that annual test. Oh and best of luck Tim.

observa
observa
13 years ago

Actually I should say in my case the govt got it right for once. A test on my 55th birthday would have discovered the polyp bang on time. They can be non-cancerous for many years apparently, but it’s a lottery you don’t want to lose.

Patrick
Patrick
13 years ago

Personally, I’ll miss his blogging – what purpose do lefty nutties like Traceeee, Gore and the SMAge have without TimB to make fun of them?

Rex
Rex
13 years ago

Agree Ken. Best wishes to Tim for a speedy recovery.

observa
observa
13 years ago

I see from Slatts post Tim is only 42, which makes him a rather rare, unfortunate beast that wouldn’t have been caught by the reasonably economic, cost/benefit, screening process at 50-55 anyway. Apparently bowel cancer in the family heightens your own statistical risk markedly, as I found out from the mate whose father died from it in his mid 60s. I was recounting the fun of colonic irrigation when he nodded knowingly. Unbeknownst to me at the time(we blokes are like that) he has had the faecal blood test every second year and the ritual cleansing and laporoscope every other year since 50, precisely because of his father’s death from bowel cancer. Real cobbers we are now, I can tell you.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
13 years ago

I totally concur with Ken on Tim’s behind-the-scenes encouragement. He’s a blogospherical institution and I wish him a speedy recovery.

Bring Back CL's blog
Bring Back CL's blog
13 years ago

does this mean Timbo is an opneing boweler

Patrick
Patrick
13 years ago

Apparently early prognosis is positive.

Which is great.

PK
PK
13 years ago

Observa

Doesn’t a colonoscopy fit the bill rather than doing that test?

observa
observa
13 years ago

PK, I called it a laparascope but you’re right it is a colonoscopy because of what you’re looking at. Still the best magnifying glass and light are not much good at finding things at the bottom of the Yarra. Draining the river all the time to take good look at the bottom is a bit drastic if it just means dipping a brush in the dunny bowl to mark a test card. Suit yourself, but starting those cleansing sachet drinks at two in the arvo and fasting all the way till the next day for a tube up ya, doesn’t exactly cut it for mine. However Tim, like the mate will probably do that biannually from now on. I’ll stick to the brushwork annually thanks.

observa
observa
13 years ago

I should explain the faecal blood test detects blood in the stool(that’s what they call em), because polyps on the bowel wall bleed minutely. Hence a positive test means a colonoscopy under anaesthetic, because they’re pretty sure they’ll be lasering one or two at the same time. I was out for about an hour, in day surgery, but you can’t drive for the rest of the day and you’re off work. Taxis or worried mum to drive you. Add the prepping the day before to that and colonoscopy is a bit of a drag.

PK
PK
13 years ago

Sorry to ask again seeing you know what you are talking about. Is the test you’re suggesting a superior dectection method than the old tube up the butt?

I would have thought that the tube was just as good. If the polyp is too small to detect it probably is too small to see if they have to “tunnel” their way in after a positive test result.

…………. just trying to figure what’s the better way to go, observa and possibly angry because I have been having a colonoscopy every 18 months for the past 20 odd years under Docs advice. He’s never suggested your test.

Helen
13 years ago

possibly angry because I have been having a colonoscopy every 18 months for the past 20 odd years under Docs advice. Hes never suggested your test.

As someone who’s had to endure 2 yearly colonoscopies (due to mother dying of BC at 43) my doctor explained that the occult blood test (the card one) only shows up positive when things have actually started to bleed, the colonoscopy will get to the offending polyps before they get to that stage, and that’s better.

david tiley
13 years ago

The problem is not the colonoscopy but the muck you get to drink beforehand, and the not eating for some days. If they could at least make Colonlytely (puke) palatable, millions of people around the world would go down on their knees in thanks. Mind you, I have it down to a well honed routine these days. Muck + freezing water + fruit juice + iceblocks… but it still ain’t pleasant. It sounds so trivial compared to all the other things that can go wrong, but I still think of my appointments as the “muck in the dunny time”.

Niall
13 years ago

Reading down the comments, it’s somewhat amusing to see the tone go from hearts & flowers to farts and bowels :)

amphibious
amphibious
13 years ago

Perhaps they find the only part of him that isn’t malignant.

observa
observa
13 years ago

PK,
Sorry I didn’t get back to you. As far as I’m aware the colonoscopy is the ultimate test, bearing in mind the need to have an empty bowel for physical inspection. The faecal blood test is not 100% foolproof, but I gather it is a very cost effective detection method and yes that colonlytely stuff is like drinking Kool Aid, figuratively speaking. A test may miss the initial development of a polyp/polyps but unlikely twice and I gather those things take a long time to develop into cancer. I guess that was the thinking behind the govt sending out another similar test kit to random 55 yr olds, as apparently they were pilot testing the cost effectiveness of rolling out a full testing regime. I can only say regards the faecal blood test it worked for me, although perhaps one or two prior negative tests didn’t show the singular polyp’s early development. I’ll never know. However the positive test did and was removed when having the colonoscopy. As far as I’m aware my doc doesn’t want me to have regular colonoscopy now like my mate does, but that may be because I only had one minor one anyway. I guess you need to grill your doc about your specific situation, or even seek another opinion if you think he’s a bit of the paranoid type.