It has been a while since I updated my blog, and what a while it has been. In such a short time, the world has totally changed, brought together by the smallest of viruses. Coronavirus has brought tragedy, despair, devastation and in many cases. depression. But to an extent it has also brought hope.
Hope that the world can work together to destroy the virus. Hope that people will continue to support each other, whether friends, family of neighbours. Hope that a better, more enlightened world emerges as we start the slow process of recovery. And, hope that there is some clarity in terms of identifying those who are capable; capable of making decisions for the public good, clarity in terms of those who are able to lead with integrity and without self interest.
So at the start of the pandemic I had my PSA test and it was pretty good news, there was some hope for me. My PSA level had dropped from 1.23 to .053. The radiated seeds where clearly doing their job. I still had frequency of urination, but all in all things were going well.
Then the pandemic started and I followed the rules in terms of lockdown. My work, usually delivering training or lecturing at university, stopped dead. So what to do? My colleagues and I decided to use the time to get our programmes online, so work started again, unpaid, but it was different and it gave me a challenge that helped me to cope with the isolation.
I connected with friends and family online each week in the much enjoyed, and somewhat raucous family and friends quiz. I also got back on my bike (on my turbo trainer in the garage) for an hour every day. And I changed my eating and drinking habits. Booze was relegated to Friday and Saturday only. Meat pretty much out of the window as I explored, and enjoyed, the virtues of vegetarian cooking. And I also decided to try my hand at baking. My banana bread is now the stuff of legends.
The result was a significant loss of weight, a feeling of being fit and healthy and not sluggish. And a feeling of ‘getting better.’
Come the release from lockdown Susan and I celebrated with a ‘posh’ dinner on the 4th July in London. It was the first day of release from lockdown and it was something of an eerie experience as London was pretty empty. Still, it was a celebration and a feeling of emergence – for a while!
Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago and time for another PSA test. The usual plan is to call the surgery and pop down for a quick jab in the arm. Not this time, it was off to hospital and a wait in a queue. No drama, it was a simple procedure and I was in and out pretty quickly.
A week later and it was a telephone conversation with a different specialist. She wanted to catch up with my medical history and go through the procedure. How is your bowel function? How is your bladder function? How are your erections? Any pains? How is your walking? She was thorough and I didn’t even catch her name. It is amazing what you will share with people that you have not event met!
Then came the whammy, my PSA had risen to 1.17. I was told from the start that this may happen and not to worry. It is known as Benign PSA Bounce. A quick check on Google and it is explained thus ‘A brief rise and then fall in the blood level of PSA (prostate-specific antigen) that occurs in some patients 1-3 years after receiving radiation treatment for prostate cancer. PSA bounce does not mean that the cancer has come back‘ And this, it seems is correct. The consultant confirmed that is not a cause for concern and to have a further test in six months time and we will see how I am getting on then.
And so we move into another lockdown. All side effects have now gone and I still feel fit, although I have put a kilo or so back on in the interim. A further unrelated test for skin cancer has also come back negative so there is an air of positivism as we move into 2021. As I have passed the two year mark since my surgery, I can now be cremated, in the event of my death of course! Woohoo. A vaccine is on the way (I hope), my levels remain below the threshold of concern and I am going to get back on my bike….but first, I have more banana bread to make.
Stay safe people.
PS – I have added a ‘banana bread’ tag to this post. I wonder what people are expecting when they search for recipes for banana bread – haha