My Second Act … Washuntara May 2018

A TRANSATLANTIC PERSPECTIVE … A story about care in two countries

G’day or Howdy!
I’m not sure which greeting would better serve given live on either side of what I lovingly call the pond, the Pacific Ocean.
I am Washuntara, a sixty-year-old Australian who’s spent the best part of his life as a successful songwriter in Nashville. I’m also a non-drinking, non-smoking Buddhist who wishes he was a vegetarian and didn’t love coffee. I share my days with a delightful Mid-western woman. I am a Diarist.

Why am I in this empowering publication? I’m a recent Cancer survivor and beneficiary of medical care in both Australia and the United States. This dear reader leaves me with an amiable case of double gratitude.

For months on end, Queensland to California, the doctors said, “It’s not much of lump, don’t worry. ” Who me worry! Finally after determined investigation, an excellent Mid-western female Doc from Milwaukee referred me to a brilliant ENT colleague.

Two weeks later, sitting in the snow on the pavement outside his clinic, I knew I was in real trouble. This compassionate man in his pressed white coat gently informed me that we were almost certainly dealing with a late stage, HPV related, throat cancer. That it was dangerous, difficult AND survivable.
“Washuntara I recommend returning to your home land and its medical system,” he selflessly acknowledged. I jetted back to Australia the following day. It was a long flight.

Entries from my personal 2017 Diary

• Time passed, free falling back to Australia, I found myself caught beautifully by my island home. Proceeding to get sick, very sick, and very very sick, I did not want to die but there were times when I didn’t honestly know how to keep on living. Radiation and Chemotherapy concurrently to head and neck burns hard into the human spirit, its effective and brutal.

• In Australia, I have been and continue to be the grateful recipient of mighty care at the Royal Brisbane Women’s Hospital. The entire medical system and staff enveloped me in love and laughter. Their professionalism and expertise was overshadowed only by their compassion. On their watch, I am now 12 months Cancer free. With the deep listening and steady guidance of a skilled Cancer counsellor, I’m starting to actually believe it. With the love of my beloved and beloveds, most days I still manage to find joy.

• I know how lucky I am, especially regarding my ability to have had a choice around which nation I’d be treated in. My strong-hearted Milwaukee ENT/surgeon did also, and he emphatically told me going home was my best shot.

• In the days, months, and years of recovery ahead, I am ever so grateful to all those who have and continue to fight for our Aussie medical system. I have undoubtedly received the best medical care possible. I have never had to consider that without medical insurance my already difficult circumstances would have become insurmountable – financial and otherwise. Somebody wiser than I once said, ”You can judge a country by the way it looks after its less fortunate.” Australia you got this one!

Live Wild – Dream Hard – Love Big …Washuntara