It has been a while. But I have been giving my next update some thought as things have moved on for me. First, since coming out of the last lockdown I have been busier than a busy person who is doing busy things on a busy day. Work seems to have taken over at the moment, and demands on time seem to block out opportunities to reflect and plan.
There have been a number of personal issues that have impacted upon plans for the future, but I am still here and at least I have a future to plan for. For that I am very grateful.
So, in May I had my latest call up from The Christie Hospital. I spoke to a young chap called Steve instead of one of the usual team members. The questions remained the same. How are you bowels? How is your bladder? Any issues with your waterworks? (a question that my mother regularly asks me!) Has the frequency of urination settled own? All were answered positively.
Interestingly, maybe because this was a young man, there were no questions about my erections. I had my answer all lined up, but he moved me on to general health!
My PSA level remains below one, which is good and he was pleased to hear that. In fact, he stated that if my PSA level remains stable below one at my next test, early January 2022, then the hospital would probably discharge me (so to speak). I would still have to have my PSA checked each year, and contact The Christie if it started to rise. This should have been good news. Well, it was good news of course, but I really felt I had to ask a simple question.
‘Do I still have cancer?’ Steven took time to compose an answer. “We cannot say no for definite. You know there is a 10% chance that your cancer will return. But what I can say is that your prostate is still working to some extent as it is still producing measurable PSA.”
‘Is this usual bearing in mind that I have had 74 irradiated seeds inserted into it?’ “It can be. All cases are different, but your prostate will have been damaged by the radiation, but we hope that accuracy means that we hit all of the cancer and that has been destroyed.”
He went on to say that the fact that all side effects have gone is a positive step forward and they do not think that I will present myself back to the hospital.
This whole conversation, while positive, made me think about how I have lived with my cancer for four years. Can I totally put it out of my mind? That should be the case. The reality is that at 61, every pain or twinge that I get in my groin, hips or pelvis makes me wonder….could it be back? Or is it old age creeping in?
Having given this a lot of thought over the last few months, there comes a time when you have to think, it is time to put this behind you and move forward. So plans are afoot. The first is taking a step back when I am 63 in order to enjoy more time learning new things and travelling to new places. To an extent, the pandemic curtailed the travel, but as things open up so so my thoughts turn to places that I would like to visit.
So there I was with my positive outlook, and in the last week alone I have spoken to three people who are undergoing biopsies or have been diagnosed. They all have a positive outlook, which is mainly driven by the fact that treatments have, in four years, moved on so much. It is well known that catching prostate cancer early can have a very positive outcome, but the science driving the treatment and the speed at which this moves is astounding.
So I have my fingers crossed that the above people have a positive outcome as well. Those who have suffered this cancer, whether directly or indirectly, will tell you to tell the men in your life to get tested. I know that I have mentioned it in this blog. But remember, I had no symptoms and would have been in a pickle later in life had this not been found.
So, it is Howard Bound (yes, an homage to Simon and Garfunkel) and looking forward to Christmas, New Year and a low PSA in January. I wonder whether I can change the words to a famous Christmas song to ‘all I want for Christmas is my prostate back...’
Ho Ho Ho – and all that