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A Head and Neck Poem by Dr Rob Thornton

Dr Rob Thornton who lives in Adelaide with his wife Tina, is a former Registered Nurse and recently retired Gerontologist who has studied and worked in health for five decades.
In 2021 Rob was treated for Throat Cancer and underwent a laryngectomy. He has had no speech since.
He is currently undergoing a three-year immunotherapy program, and, until a metastatic growth in his neck disappears has no chance of being vocal.
So he decided to write a poem. 

Two years ago, we were on holiday in Cape York. 
Never been there before, so time to have a gawk. 
As usual, I was chatting and singing. 
But when I was unable, alarms started ringing. 
An E.N.T. specialist was visited prompt, 
With an assessment that had us all stomped. 
A growth was seen, so a biopsy was taken. 
Cancer the result, which had me shaken. 
A team of surgeons was summonsed quick. 
We have a technique that should do the trick. 
What was involved? I asked in dismay. 
Simple they said, we will take your throat away. 
Never fear, we will replace. 
We will take your thigh muscle, just in case. 
My breathing so bad a tracheostomy was arranged. 
By this time, I was almost deranged. 
Soon after, the theatre was made ready. 
I said I hoped all hands were steady. 
Seven hours later I woke in intensive care. 
My vocal cords missing, and a hole in my neck for air. 
Half my thigh gone and transplanted to my neck. 
A younger appearance, so what the heck! 
Seven weeks later I was shown the door 
Now managing at home is a big chore. 
Now, unfortunately, the cancer has come back. 
Multiple drugs ordered and I’ve become a lab rat. 
Three years of treatment is now on the agenda, 
Sometimes I feel like going on a bender. 
Well, this is my story two years on. 
No talking as yet, and certainly no song. 
I am sure one day a sound will appear, 
But until then, it is a pain in the rear. 
My wife, family and friends have helped my revival, 
My health professionals have ensured my survival. 
Thank you all for support and care 
It helps so much when others just stare. 


Thank you so much Rob for sharing this relatable poem. Learn more about Laryngeal and Hypopharyngeal Cancer at the link below.

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