Catching Up With Banana Bread

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

Prostate cancer in pictures

I was waiting to cross a road in Liverpool recently who I noticed this advert on the side of a bus stop.  It made me wonder how many people actually stopped are read the information that this poster relays.  One man does every 45 minutes form Prostate Cancer.  That is a statistic that can be reduced by persuading the man in your life to go and have a PSA test.

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You may be able to see my reflection in the poster and you may be able to see the suitcase in front of me.  This was the start of an interesting journey to Porto for a few days.  It was here that I came across an interesting piece of graffiti on the side of a building.

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I was grateful for this being written in English as I may have otherwise passed it by – by I support the sentiments here.  While it would be nice to give cancer the finger, so to speak, we must not forget that terrible statistic on the poster.

Only yesterday I spoke to a colleague who I have not been in contact with for a while.  He knew that I had been ill and kindly asked how I was.  When I asked him he told me that he was awaiting an MRI scan and biopsy as his PSA level was high.  I sincerely hope that that nothing is wrong or, if there is an issue, that they have caught this in plenty of time.

So, and I make no apologies for repeating myself.  If you are reading this, encourage the man that you care about to go an have a blood test.  It takes seconds and it may just save his life.

Gross hematuria

It has now been over 12 months since I had my Brachytherapy treatment and I actually feel quite well.  Yes, the trips to the loo continue at a pace, but I have lost 7KG since April, I am back on my bike and I feel quite fit.

The latest update with regard to progress was something of a shock.  I had travelled to London and had probably not drunk enough fluids, but still needed a pee.  So I popped into the public loo at Euston Station.  Passing water was uncomfortable, and I was prepared for that, but I wasn’t prepared to pass blood and what I can only describe as small blood clots.

This came as a shock as I had not read anywhere that this was a likely issue at this stage of my recovery.  I then did the unthinkable, and Googled the symptoms.  There were a couple of options.  First was Radiation Cystitis and second was gross hematuria.

According to , https://prostatecanceruk.org

“Radiotherapy can irritate the lining of the bladder and the urethra – this is called radiation cystitis. Symptoms include:

  • needing to urinate more often, including at night
  • a burning feeling when you urinate
  • difficulty urinating
  • blood in the urine.

Symptoms can start within a few days of your first treatment. They usually begin to improve when your treatment ends. But some men get symptoms for several months. And some don’t get symptoms until months or even years after their final treatment.

Symptoms such as blood in the urine can be worrying, but this is quite a common symptom of radiation cystitis.”

Well I had those that are emboldened and italicised.  However, a call to my consultant, who was not happy that I had Googled the symptoms rather than call her, resulted in us agreeing that it was more likely that I had gross hematuria.  The gross aspect refers to the fact that the blood can be seen by the naked eye.

While this sounds very worrying, it is simply a breakdown of  small blood vessels in the bladder lining that may be more fragile and bleed easily.  This is quite common it seems, although not always this early in treatment.  But there is nothing really to worry about.  I am back on the Tamsulosin to help with emptying my bladder and while I occasionally have blood in my water, it is not as much as when this this first occurred.

So I enter 2020 in a more positive frame of mind.  I feel better than I have for some time, but I still have to make sure that there is a loo nearby, especially if I am teaching.  There have been a quite a few close calls, but I follow the mantra of a former boss who said “make your self comfortable first.”

Good advice

 

Good news bad news

It is good to see prostate cancer being covered so positively in the news of late.  First Sir Rod Stewart announced that he has battled the disease and then there was some research indicating that the BRCA genes that cause breast cancer in women may have a connection to prostate cancer.  Why is this good news you may ask?

Well, the news from Sir Rod demonstrates that this cancer does not discriminate.  Fame and fortune play no part in preventing this disease.  But the opportunity for such people  to share their experiences is good news as they all promote getting tested.  Billy Connolly, Bill Turnbull and Stephen Fry are three other men who have battled the disease and encouraged men to get tested.  Bringing this onto the front pages, albeit in sad circumstances, and broadening knowledge about prostate cancer and the fact that it can be cured is surely good news.

Similarly, research to understand how prostate cancer develops and grows and ways of attacking is ongoing.  While there is a suggestion that the BRCA gene may be connected to prostate cancer, information from prostate cancer UK suggests that the research is in the very early stages and more needs to be understood about how this works.

Indeed only last night a friend of mine confirmed that he has been diagnosed with the disease.  Like many, he exhibited no symptoms and was only given a PSA test by his GP  after he insisted.  Why do we have to insist?  The costs is fairly low in terms of processing and analysing the sample.  Is there a fear that more people being diagnosed puts a greater strain on the health services?  Surely not.

My friends  PSA level of 14 indicted an issue, and he has commenced hormone treatment and has agreed to be a part of a trail that aims to develop knowledge of prostate cancer.  Again, it is good to hear that science is pushing the boundaries, but the message is clear;  men may have no symptoms and yet the disease may well be developing inside them.  For the sake of a small blood test, it is worth trying to encourage the man in your life to go and get tested.

As for my cancer, my latest PSA level has shown an increase from 0.87 to 1.4.  The advice that I was given was that this was a possibility in the first two years.  While I am not overly concerned, I am arranging for a further PSA test prior to attending the Christie Hospital in March next year.  Physically I still suffer from frequency of urination (going for a pee a lot).  All other issues connected with my cancer seem to have abated for now – and long may this be the case.  I am still unable to hold on when I need to go.  As soon as I feel the urge to pee I have to head to the loo.  But, in the grand scheme of things this is nothing other than an inconvenience (no pun intended).

Mentally, dealing with cancer is more of an emotional drain for me.  While it is not at the forefront of my mind, it lurks like a shadow, waiting to pop out as darkness falls.  Every ache in the region of my pelvis makes me wonder whether the scans missed something, as unlikely as this is.

I am blessed with having a supportive group of friends and wonderful family, and on the positive side I am back riding my bike.  Ok, so I have to stop a few times to water the bushes and trees on the way, but the guy that I am riding with is patient in terms of not pushing our speed and distance, and it was really good to get that first ride under my belt.

So, despite the increased PSA level, my outlook remains positive.  Research and sharing stories via the media can only improve prevention and  treatments.  Remember, prostate cancer kills 11,000 men each year.  Many of these are needless deaths as early detection gives men a great chance of recovery.

So I will leave the last line to Sir Rod, who when he announced the fact that he had beaten prostate cancer urged men to go the GP and ask for a test, it’s really not that bad.  As Sir Rod says ‘finger up the bum, no harm done.’

 

Straight talking

First of all, I am pleased to announce that my PSA level has dropped further and now sits at 0.87.  This is a considerable drop from the original level of 12 and shows that the Brachytherapy seeds are doing their stuff, turning my prostate gland into scar tissue and killing my cancer at the same time (I hope).

My consultant describes the main side effect as frequent urination.  That term does not quite do it justice.  I still need to be within 15 minutes of a loo as the requirement to go to the loo, especially in the morning, is a real pain; not literally.  Sometimes the frequency increases to the point that I will go for a wee, walk off  and have to go straight back again.  This is due to the fact that my bladder is being prevented from emptying fully due to my prostate being enlarged as a result of the radiation, and it therefore constricts the flow of water.  So, when I feel the urge to go, I have to go straight away.  The days of being able to hold on have well and truly passed.

My highest number of visits during the night is nine.  Not a lot of sleep that night, but this seems to have settled to two or three.  These symptoms are likely to persist for up to a year following my treatment.  While it is a nuisance, I have to accept that things could have been a lot worse.

This blog is called straight talking for a reason.  I recently met two friends who I have not seen for a while.  I saw them both on separate days and at separate locations. Both are aware of of my treatment and the potential side effects.  The interesting points is that instead of both greeting me with “how are you feeling?” They both asked “how are your erections?”  Not only was I not expecting this question, but I was not expecting it twice.  This served to re-inforce a conversation that I had some time ago with Susan that a key issue for men with prostate cancer is the impact on their sex lifer and, in some cases, ability to father children.

It was certainly a consideration for me, and that is one of the reasons that I chose Brachytherapy as it has a lower potential to result in erectile disfunction (ED). Other treatments, such as external beam radiation and prostatectomy have a higher risk of ED.

When going through the consultancy pre op phase, the medical team were very honest in their assessment of ED post Brachtherapy.  If things are OK now, they will likely be OK afterwards, and so it proved to be.  But there is this fixation on the sexual aspect of prostate cancer that sometimes disguises the fact that this is a cancer and that if not caught and dealt with early enough, can have far more serious consequences than ED.

I recently spoke to another friend who told me of  story about the changing conversations that you have with friends as you grow old together.  That anecdote has come to fruition as there are virtually no bodily functions or processes that I have not been asked about or discussed in the last 12 months.

Yes, there is an element of mirth in this, but the gravitas should not be lost.  Prostate cancer is the biggest killer of men in the UK.  As men, we should be comfortable discussing erections, bladder, bowel and any other sort of movement, just as women are comfortable discussing periods childbirth and the menopause.

So while my two friends caused me to raise an eyebrow (no pun intended), I am happy to discuss any aspect of my treatment provided it helps others to make a decision to go and get tested or encourage their husband, father, son, uncle or brother get tested.

That simple good test could save their life.  Not convinced? I follow two guys on social media who had no symptoms apart from some discomfort with their hips and pelvis.  Both are relatively young men and both have terminal prostate cancer.

Convince someone to get tested – it is simply common sense.

2018 – a year in numbers

As we move into 2019 I am pleased to report that many of the side effects of my Brachytherapy  seem to be settling down.  I have not been hit with any serious fatigue, I am reducing the Tamsulosin and the stomach cramps seem to have stopped too (touch wood).

I have had a period of getting up between five and eight times during the night, which is new, but this too seems to have reduced.

Looking back on the second half of 2018, I was struck by how many times numbers have featured in my diagnosis, treatment and recovery.  So here are a few that struck a cord.

0. the prostate cancer symptoms that I displayed

1. The number of prostate glands that I have

2. The number of Digital Rectal Examinations (DRE) and the number of enemas that I have had

3. This number features heavily
the number of general anaesthetics that I have had
my PSA level in December 2018
prostate cancer is the third biggest cancer killer in the UK

6. out of 12 cores taken from my biopsy that showed cancer

7. My Gleason score (3+4)

8. The most number of times that I have had to get up in the night for a wee

11. The number of hospital visits from diagnosis through treatment

12. My PSA level at diagnosis and the number of samples taken for analysis

60. The percentage of cancer in the right side of my prostate

70. The percentage of cancer in the left side of my prostate

74. The number of irradiated seeds sitting in my prostate

90. The percentage chance that my cancer will not return within four years

130. the number of mils of water I had to pass before I could leave hospital

400. The number of micrograms of Tamsulosin that I am taking

2019.  The year in which I make life style changes in order to enjoy life

11,819. The number of  men who die from prostate cancer every year in the UK

That last number is a stark reminder of the impact of this cancer.  I found a stat from 2014-2016 that said 31 men die each day from prostate cancer.

That number is way too high, so once again I urge you to encourage the man in your life to get a PSA test.  It is painless and will hopefully give you peace of mind.

I am looking forward to a positive 2019 and as such I have reduced my work commitment, altered the work that I do so that there is less work travel and I am giving myself more time for travel for pleasure.

And that started this weekend with a lovely few days with my kids, grandchild and nephew.  Relaxing and stress free.  Bring on 2019!

Timing

It is now three months since I had my Brachytherapy.  According to the research that I did and the advice of the medical team, the side effects should be winding down by now.  The truth is that they persist and remain as inconsistent as ever.

I now know that for some reason travelling, especially on trains, seems to have a negative impact on me.  We have been through the possibilities, such as sitting still for long periods or the stress of needing to know whether there is a loo nearby, but nothing seems to stand out as a significant cause.  The discomfort seems to start on the evening of travel and the following day.  For example, I travelled to London recently and felt unwell after the train journey.  The following day we were walking along the South Bank of the Thames and I was visiting a loo every 250 meters or so.

In fact I had to use my Macmillan Cancer card for the first time, going to a closed restaurant and asking to use their facilities.  Just my luck to encounter a waitress from Spain who could not follow what I was saying!  However, the lady kindly let me in.  It was only when I came out that I realised that I had walked passed a public lavatory!

We eventually decided that we would take in a show at the National Theatre.  Two trips to the loo before the show started, one during the interval and one at the end ensured that we were able to enjoy the show.

Over the last two weeks I have travelled to London to attend social functions and spend time with Sue.

Following the first social event, at which I only had one pint of beer and two soft drinks, I found that I was getting out of bed almost every five minutes and ended up siting on the loo until I felt my bladder was empty.  That unfortunately was 2am!  The following week we had to leave a 50th birthday party as I had severe stomach cramps.  This week the fatigue has been back to pay a visit for the last two days.  I thought I had seen the back of this, but here we are again.

While the above issues are at best an inconvenience and at worst debilitating, they are  starting to impact on other issues such as concentration and being apply to apply myself for a prolonged period of time.  There are those who will say that that is nothing new, but this is a physical and psychological issue that is working together.

The fatigue is more of a concern as I have responsibilities that have to be addressed and it is almost a case of having to force myself to sit in the office, make a list and start to go through them.  While this helps, I find that frequent short breaks to take my mind off the tasks in hand sometimes helps.

All of this demonstrates how I got my time scales wrong.  From the start I though that I would be back on my feet and raring to go within three months, but this is not the case.  Added to this I recently read that side effects and the impact of the seeds can take up to 18 months to get to the point where the effects are negligible.  That seems to be a long way off!

But once again I have been reading about a number of men who appeared to be quite healthy, and then get a niggle or ache i the hips or pelvis and within a short time have been diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer.  While my heart goes out to them, I applaud their efforts to raise the awareness of prostate cancer and secure a screening programme that may well have helped them.  So I guess in the grand scheme of things, while everyone’s cancer is personal to them, I have to be pleased that mine was caught when it was.

 

Difficult Conversations

I have been asked by a few people to raise the issue of two difficult subjects that are related to Prostate Cancer.  The first is depression and the next blog will relate to erectile disfunction (ED).

I recently saw the short film produced by TV newsreader Bill Turnbull, in which he comments that a black cloud fell over him when he was diagnosed with advanced Prostate Cancer. Thankfully, this is something that he has been able to overcome with the help and support of friends and family.

However, some people are not able to deal with their depression and it can grip them in such a way that they can find no escape.  This is true of a friend of mine who tragically took his own life after suffering years of depression.  The sad thing is that none of us who knew him knew that he was suffering with this terrible illness.  During the period that I worked with him we spent a lot of time together.  We went on a number of family holidays and would socialise with a larger group of friends.  All I can remember is laughing when in his company.  And yet, behind his laughter there lurked a darkness that he later spoke of with his family.

While his family knew of his depression, he did not want anyone to know as he thought it embarrassing.  What is it with people and men in particular the we cannot find it within ourselves to communicate that we are struggling with some part of our lives?  Depression can be addressed (not always cured) but only if we speak about it with people that we love or those who have professional skills when dealing with this disease.  It is nothing to be ashamed about.

I mention him here as he was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer at the same time as me, but elected for surgery.  By all accounts this went well and he was recovering well, but who knows what is going on inside, and what triggers someone to feel so depressed that they cannot see a way out.  I can tell you how much I wish we had bumped into each other at the hospital.  Just to have an opportunity to share stories and re-connect.

Another friend, Danny Long, who had a different type of cancer contacted me shortly after my diagnosis to offer his support and knowledge of the wider implications of cancer. He has been successfully receiving treatment for his cancer, but had a scare recently when one of his nodes/gland became enlarged and he thought that this cancer may have come back.  Thankfully, it had not, but his comment was “It has a massive strain on your emotions and your ability to keep all your shit together (pardon my language)…… I guess this is our journey now.

He is right, but I have found his insight to be both helpful and empathetic.  Sharing thoughts with someone who has been there, done it and got the T shirt is a big comfort and I am grateful to him.

I guess most cancer sufferers will refer to a journey of good news/bad news.  A friend and former colleague recently realised that it was 10 years since she was diagnosed with breast cancer.  She went through hard times with her treatment and has made a brilliant recovery, and yet her recent thought was that she was “one of the ones that live in fear but also one of the ones who lives their life.”  A great sentiment, but with something of a sombre overtone

The darkness that is associated with cancer comes in many forms.  Increased stress and anxiety, a lack of focus and being able to concentrate, an unwillingness to go out and face the world and who knows what else.  The first step to overcoming this is to tell someone. Start a conversation and just see where that takes you.

I know that my cancer has laid me low on a number of occasions.  I am fortunate to have a close group of friends and family who ask after my health and who offer the opportunity to talk.  I know fellow prostate cancer sufferers and I have the opportunity to talk to them too, so I feel very fortunate.  But the hard bit is moving away from the practicalities and machinations of treatment and physical reaction, to one that focusses on emotion and mental strength.  I know that this is something that I find difficult and I know that my personal journey of dealing with my cancer, despite the recent good news, is at an early stage.

I know that there has to be more, I just have not unraveled what the more is yet.  To get a better understanding of what that is and where it will take me will require me to deal with the emotional and mental side of this disease and talk about it.

So, my closing message for this blog is – go and get your PSA level checked, or encourage the man in your life to get it checked.  Then , if the news is not what you expected, talk about it.  Talk about the treatment, what the side effects may be and talk about how you feel.  Some may view my comment as a little hypocritical, but at least I recognise that I have some way to go.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, according to Lao Tzu.  Maybe this blog represents my first tentative steps.

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For those who wish to see the Bill Turnbull film – here is the link https://www.facebook.com/Channel4/videos/10155106116047330/

 

Counting the numbers

A lot has happened in the last week, but here is a brief overview.

Susan and I attended the first post op meeting at the Christie Hospital in Manchester.  Our meeting was with my radiologist and I new that it would involve a CT scan, to check whether any seeds had migrated, and a PSA test.

After covering off the side effects (nothing untoward there), the focus turned on the fatigue.  The radiologist explained that I had not had enough radiation to cause fatigue, and the likely cause was the Tamsulosin causing a drop in blood pressure; this may explain why I am also feeling cold.  She asked whether I had tried stopping it, and I explained that I had, but it was uncomfortable.  She proposed a trip to the GP to get my blood pressure checked and weaning myself off the medication when I felt ready.  No problem with that, and a trip to the GP resulted in my blood pressure being fine.

I then asked how long it would be before they could say I was cancer free.  I naively expected the answer to be the end of this year or early next year.  I was not expecting her to say four years.  This pretty much floored me.  However, she explained that the radiation was doing what it was designed to do and that the tumour and my prostate would be destroyed.  In fact my prostate would become de-natured (another new term and more on that in the future) and would become scar tissue.  She stuck to the 90% success rate that was mentioned early on by the oncologist.  As far as she was concerned there was no further treatment required.

That concerned me greatly and was on my mind as I headed to the CT scan.  This was pretty straight forward; drop your trousers and undies to your knees, like back and think of England as I moved back and forth in the scanner.

Then it was a quick blood test and we were off.  We had plans for a celebratory drink and dinner, but the conversation revolved around the four years issue.  The impact of this was felt the following week and  I was hit by a period of feeling quite low.  It is difficult to describe how this feels, but I could feel it coming on during Wednesday afternoon and lasting until the following day.

I could feel myself being unable to concentrate and slowing down.  Nothing for it but to lay on the couch and rest before heading to bed early for another eight hour sleep.  In the morning I felt a little better, but had to fight to get rid of the tiredness.

On Friday I had to call for the results of the CT scan and PSA test.  The CT scan was fine, no issues and my PSA had dropped from twelve, on my initial test, to three.  That was good news as I expected a false positive reading that would breach the threshold of five.

So the weekend was rosier with the good news.  The side effects continue and are likely to do so until mid December, but the precautions that I have introduced in relation to my granddaughter are me being too cautious, and I can’t wait for her to stay over again.

My next blood test is due in April 2019 and so that, I thought, would be me seeing the back of hospitals for a while.  And yet here I am typing at Whiston Hospital where my daughter has been admitted with an unspecified liver/kidney/gall bladder problem.

It seems that I will be associating with hospitals for a little while longer!

 

Looks can be deceiving

It has been a few weeks since I updated my blog and during that time I have taken the opportunity to venture out of the house and travel to Susan’s or to one or two meetings.  On a number of occasions a few people who know about my cancer have commented on how well I look.  This is an interesting perspective as I am sure that many people who have cancer or similar ailments and who are not on chemotherapy or similar therapies would have a change in external appearance.  I wonder what people expected to see?

There are those who will be a little more direct, telling me that I look tired, a fact that is true.  But inside, the radioactive seeds have started a little inferno that continues to result in inconsistent side effects.  The last two weekends have been particularly difficult.

The weekend before last I travelled to London and the journey  took a strange toll as tiredness crept up on me during the journey.  When I arrived I was ‘out of sorts‘ and just sat on a chair and chatted to Susan and her family.  The following day was much of the same.  A peculiarity was that it felt as though I had a series of staples inserted on the inside of my stomach. Of course I haven’t but as I moved, it felt as through they were pushing on the lining of my abdomen. A little like the feeling John Hurt must have had just before the little Alien burst through his stomach and promptly ran off.

Other side effects, regular visits to the loo for a wee and the stomach cramps continued throughout, to the point that on Thursday, not too long before key meeting, I had severe stomach pain that caused me to bend double (literally).  Could this be the Alien emerging.  Thankfully not, but I have not had any pain this severe so far, and hope not to have any more!

This last weekend, on travelling home, was much of the same.  On Thursday, I sat on a train from Newport, Gwent, and did some work for the two and a half hour journey.  By Friday it was much of the same; tiredness and an unwillingness to socialise., despite an offer to go out with my best mate and his missus for a G&T.  Cucumber water it was for me.

In order to try and address this malaise and the stomach cramps, I have upped my water intake and made sure that I have no long journeys planned. So far so good.

I go back to hospital on Friday for a CT scan to check whether the seeds are still in situ and I will have my first post op PSA test.  I am hoping for good news across the board – who wouldn’t?  All 72 seeds remain solidly within my prostate and my PSA level has reduced would be perfect please.  That would be nirvana and would no doubt result in a libation or two, something that has been dramatically cut from my weekly diet.

The news must be positive as I have all of the side effects that the oncologist, radiologist and urologist said that I would have.  What is the point of having ‘gist’ after your name if you don’t know what you are talking about?  So the radiation is working, I have the side effects ergo the tumour must be shrinking, resulting in a reduced PSA level. That would be a positive outcome

Yes, I may be counting my chickens etc.  But it’s only a few days until we find out…