Stan Zemanek's cancer battle
By Sharri Markson
July 16, 2006 12:00
HIS full head of hair is gone, but radio host Stan Zemanek has lost none of his infamous bite, vowing to vigorously fight a malignant brain tumour.
Having survived delicate brain surgery, he says he will fight on with a six-month course of chemotherapy beginning next month.
"Once they saw the size of the tumour, they gave me a limited time. They said I only had a few weeks,'' Zemanek told The Sunday Telegraph.
"The neurosurgeon, Dr Charles Teo, said: 'There's no mucking around - you have to have the operation straight away. You can't wait another day or week.'
"He said: 'We've got to keep you alive as long as we possibly can.' I'm just taking every day, every week, every month as it happens.''
Rather than taking time out to rest, the talkback host has thrown himself into the task of beating cancer, with the same strength he is famous for on air.
"I'm here for the battle; I'm here for the fight,'' he says.
Zemanek, 59, has finished a six-week course of radiation treatment. After a three-week break, he will return to host the television show Beauty And The Beast while undergoing chemotherapy.
Last week, he returned to his nightly talkback show at 2UE, where he was surprised by the flood of supportive e-mails and calls from listeners and friends.
"The show has to go on - it's business as usual. This is what I do for a living, and you just have to get on with it,'' Zemanek says.
"It's easy to say and hard to do, but you have to keep positive. If you fall in a heap, it's going to make it difficult to get out.''
The love of his wife, Marcella, has given Zemanek the strength to face cancer head-on.
"If it wasn't for Marcella, I don't know where I'd be,'' he says. "She has been a tower of strength. She's magnificent - an amazing woman.''
The cancer was discovered after Zemanek had trouble with his sight. An MRI scan revealed a malignant brain tumour.
Beauty And The Beast panellist Prue MacSween, a close friend, says that despite Zemanek's illness, the Beauties will give him no sympathy on the show.
"The worst part is we can't tell wig jokes any more,'' she says.
On the advice of former rugby league great Wayne Pearce, Zemanek is drinking Goji juice, a high-energy Himalayan berry potion, to boost his immune system.
He is also moving at a less hectic pace, taking orders from Marcella and spending plentyof time with his three-year-old grandson, Hamish.
"I used to put in 14 hours a day, and I've obviously cut that back enormously,'' he says.
"I did go back to work too early at one stage, and I knew I wasn't going to get through the night, so I had to come off.
And Zemanek hasn't lost his spark. "When somebody says, 'What do you do?' I say my job is to abuse the s*** out of women and get paid for it,'' he jokes.