The night I told Australia I had cancer
BARRY Du Bois shocked Australia last year when he announced his cancer had returned.
Sitting in a TV studio, his The Living Room co-hosts were clearly distraught with the news. Barry has explained his decision to be open with Australia about his health battle in his new book Life Force:
I DIDN'T want me to have to explain my story every five minutes. Believe it or not, telling someone you've got cancer is draining. I summed it up like this: when someone asks "How are you going? I hear you've got cancer", you can tell whether they think you'll make it or not. Some people hug you and say you're the strongest man they know; others are more, like, "Ah well, sorry …" It's like they've given up on you.
The power of the mind is incredible. If you come across three people in a row that give you the look that you're not going to make it'll, you start to lose faith.
So we decided that we'd share my diagnoses with the people who watched the show. We thought if we could take them with us on my journey, it might give others inspiration.
And there it was.
We cut the crew down to the essentials. We removed the studio audience. How would we play it? We didn't know what to do so we were just ourselves. We adlibbed. I told my story; Amanda, Chris and Miguel reacted. What came out of it was empowering to me. It was the first time most of the cameramen had heard the story. There were lots of tears.
But there was also belief. The amount of times I heard, "You'll do it, Baz". It was like when my dad told me I was the best at everything. If everyone tells you can do it, you probably can.
If the people surrounding you have doubts, it's tough.
It was two weeks before the show went to air. In the interim, I had agreed to be the MC of a fundraiser for the Many Faces of Cancer, a gig I'd signed up for at the beginning of the year. It was the story of how I had beaten cancer. It was the biggest mind-f**k of my life.
I was in the second round of four cycles of chemo. I had taped an episode of The Living Room that announced my cancer was back and was going to air in a couple of days. And there I was carrying this dreadful secret, pretending everything was OK. I was in a room full of people who wanted to get a kiss and take a photo. I tried to not breathe anyone's germs because of my vulnerability to sickness. Even (my wife) Leonie couldn't kiss me at the time.
Other cancer victims explained to me how my positivity did so much for them.
Like I said, that was a difficult night to get my head around.
The night the show went to air was incredible. I dropped an Instagram post and it went ballistic. Thousands of people were right behind me one hundred per cent. I walked down the street and people yelled out things like, "Yeah, Bazza! Go Bazza!" and "We love ya Baz".
The spirit that can give a man!
When I was in hospital for The Big Hit (an intensive form of cancer treatment), all the nurses kept telling me I was going to get sick and they were right. I was feeling it, I could feel it coming. And then in came the doctor who said I might not get sick. All of a sudden, I felt a thousand per cent better.
I believe in the power of the mind.
As it is, once you have cancer, you start getting emails and messages from people telling you they have a cure for cancer. They're invested a hundred grand in alkaline water. Sip of kerosene every day. Only eat apples or wheatgrass or white vinegar or take high doses of vitamin C or cannabis oil. Every snake oil and charm has been shared with me.
The truth is, it's never just one thing that helps you fight cancer. It's not just great gut health or mediation or medicine, it's … everything. It's a Good Whole Life that protects you from mutating cells.
I spent twenty-one days at St Vincent's getting The Big Hit. I couldn't sleep the night before I left. It was a mixture of excitement, missing my wife and kids, and also nerves. My last hit of the antibiotic for the tinea infection that nearly got me was going to be pushed into me at 5am. Then the central line that went straight into my heart was going to be removed.
At 9.30, Leonie was waiting for me out the front of the hospital. I packed all my stuff, including a fancy air purifier, into our truck and came home.
I didn't have any appetite but I knew I had to eat. I needed to get good food into my body to continue the fight, to build up the mucous in my throat and gut, to encourage the antioxidants and enzymes and good bacteria to flourish.
Next week, we'll measure my protein levels again. I know where they'll be. Zero per cent. I'm going to be in a very good place.
But, still, I worry.
I love what I do. I love that I get to impart a little bit of my knowledge to five hundred or six hundred thousand people every week. People come up to me and tell me I've changed their lives. That before The Living Room they never would've put grout on a tile or used a handsaw. They tell me I have a way that makes them confident to try.
When you're given a gift like that and you can help charities because of your so-called "celebrity" status, it's something you don't want to lose in a hurry.
This cancer threatens to take it away from me.
I never think it will, but you have to think it … might …