“My life has changed forever”: Hey Hey It’s Saturday John Blackman's jaw removed in cancer fight
Former Hey Hey It’s Saturday star John Blackman has opened up about his “marathon” 12-hour surgery to remove cancer from his jaw. The operation involved removing Blackman’s jaw and reconstructing it.
He was diagnosed with basal-cell carcinoma, which is an aggressive form of cancer. Doctors feared that things would get worse for Blackman if it wasn’t operated on quickly.
The 71-year-old’s fibula was redesigned into a jaw using a skin graft from his inner thigh, which was used to replace the missing section of his chin.
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Blackman spoke candidly to 3AW about his struggles.
“It’s like I ploughed into a tree and my life changed forever,” John told Neil Mitchell on 3AW Mornings.
“When I was given the news, my first thought was, ‘I’ve got a full diary full of corporate gigs, I’m going to have to ring them all and put them on hold.”
Blackman initially thought that the purple lump on his chin was a pimple and it wasn’t properly examined in time until doctors realised that things could get worse very quickly.
As Blackman’s voice is his livelihood, trying to get used to the way he sounds now has been an adjustment.
“I’ve discovered my voice doesn’t have any authority anymore,” John joked.
“I sound like a very drunk Uncle Arthur when I’m on the phone.
“I don’t get any respect as (people) assume I’m a drunk or an old fool.”
However, he now has a newfound respect for people who are different like he is.
“I’ve got a new appreciation for someone who looks different and sounds different,” John said.
“It’s not contagious.”