There is a saying that good or bad things come in threes. Not sure that it’s true but hey someone said it other than me.
Happy events however are a little bit rarer for me let alone four of them at the same time. They are not related as such other so I cannot even spin them into one of my anthologies however hard I try. Oh well….
After exactly 287 days, I can finally say that I have become fully continent.
When I think back to the early days of my incontinence, it seems a million miles away.
It’s huge and I am so so happy. I had no idea it would just end like this.
For the last 3 or 4 months I have been stuck at that frustrating ‘nearly there’ stage. It would never be more than a tablespoon for the whole day and I could even have a day or two leak free but then it would be right back with,
“Oi Oi , Ahhh did you miss me brudda?” The very next day.
For some reason, never understood why, I have always been pretty much leak free at home, especially in the mornings and early afternoon. This was not the same at work, of course. It was the Thursday of the long Easter weekend and I was at home and didn’t wear a pad. Then I said I am going out and about – how hard could it be if I had a little leak and I didn’t have a pad on? I would probably have enough time to get home quickly before they start throwing rocks and fruit at me. I had a spare pad and boxers so I took the plunge and have never looked back.
If I was to say if anything had changed recently, I could only point my finger to two things. I started swimming three weeks ago and I have not had any tea (I stopped caffeine after the operation and only drink herbal peppermint) for nearly two weeks. I have been in this situation a couple of months ago when I went a week without leaking but this time is different.
How so? I hear you ask
Well I have also been to the gym and have been lifting weights and using the machinery. I have normally experienced stress incontinence and may leak a little when lifting anything heavier than say ten kilos. Here I am now in the gym doing a hard routine and nudder, nothing, dry, boom! Also sneezing could also prompt a leak – not anymore.
This is such a life changer for me 😊
I finally took the plunge and enrolled myself in a one to one swimming class. Cheap? No, but I had to do it. It is something that I spoke about and have wanted to do for years. Even more so recovering from prostate cancer, it is regarding as such an important type of exercise. It has been fantastic.
OK so I swim like a brick, I have the grace of three bricks and I have the buoyancy of said sack of bricks but I love it.
The first lesson the instructor asked me to show what I could do and swim from one end to the other of the twenty metre pool.
I thought I was actually going to die.
My heart was beating so fast it looked like Thor had his hammer inside my chest pounding to get out and it took a full five minutes for the tutor to get a sentence out of me. I did have one little mishap however but not that you would ever guess.
The men’s changing room and the ladies changing room are side by side and I was unaware of the layout. Not only did I have the misfortune of venturing into the women’s changing room, I managed to have a shower and dry myself off before wondering what a woman was doing walking past me. Luckily, I got away with it without security being called to eject the pervert. I got back out to the pool to see a guy laughing his head off – he had seen me go in but had decided not to warn me. He was laughing his head off and I was quite horrified but he was convinced I just wanted to sneak a peek.
Five sessions on and I swim less like a brick, have the grace of one and a half bricks but still have the buoyancy of a sack of them. The multi Olympic swimming champion Michael Phelps can still rest easy knowing that unless they need a chocolate coloured buoy as a marker, I won’t be challenging any of his records anytime soon.
I was headhunted by another company, via a recruiter. One day I was just minding my own business and the next I got a message asking me to give him a call. A new job was not on my radar at this time but I thought why not. To be honest I just didn’t really care. Not a flippant don’t care but one of those ‘Ah well’ sort of shrug of shoulders it could be good interview practice if nothing else.
With all that I had been through I have developed that kind of attitude.
He asked me before the telephone interview what was my salary expectation. I thought if you are going to do it do it properly. I had already looked at the industry standard for the role and personally it was a massive financial jump for me. In percentage terms it was quite excessive. I was slightly uncomfortable in saying but I asked for 50% more than I am on now.
He didn’t bat an eyelid. In fact he said we could even try for more with my experience.
I actually had the same casual carefree attitude through a telephone interview, detailed practical test and the final two on one face to face tests and further interview but not with any arrogance whatsoever. Then I promptly could not get an answer out of them for two whole weeks. My dear friend Darren helpfully suggested that perhaps the answer was that I was just the reserve ‘side chick’ and that they had offered the job first to the main chick but they had not received a decision from him or her.
Yes, he is a great mate but he would be the first to agree he is not the person you want to be stranded in a life raft with limited food and water. I would at least wait until the other person got sick or delirious before suggesting shore is just a short swim away “Go and see if you can get help” but he would be thinking about lightening the boat from the start. Sleep with one eye open my friend 😊
Well I was pleased to report to him that I was not the reserve ‘side chick’ but the guy that was actually marking my test promptly went sick the day afterwards for two weeks. As he had set the test up there was no one else to mark it so nothing could be done. In fact, on the day of the two to one face to face test and interview he actually said based on how I had done with them they probably didn’t even need to mark the test.
The recruiter called me on the Friday. He actually said,
“It was not good news”.
He had no idea of knowing but he used exactly the same words I had heard many months beforehand in Dr C’s office. I was sitting down looking out of the window and I got that twinge in my chest and slumped back a bit, just not quite the stunned extent of back then.
From what the recruiter had said to me I thought I had impressed at each stage of the interview process but that’s their job to keep you up there. By now, with uncertainty for hundreds of us at work, I had really wanted this new opportunity. The casual attitude that I had at the beginning of the process had changed to the realisation of how much I had really wanted this position now.
This time I was having my leg pulled. It was really good news. I had got the job.
After twenty three years with my current employers, I am going to fly the nest. It’s been a heck of a long time.
Sad to be going? Yes, but also very excited.
I was at one the breakfasts that my church puts together for it volunteers once a year. I was sitting next to Angela, one of the lovely women in my team that I had not seen in a while. She asked me how I was. I said I was fine. She then made the ‘mistake’ of asking me about prostate cancer.
So I told her. I took aim and gave her both barrels, smiling of course.
I gave her the facts and figures that I warm up my audiences with when I give my talks. I then told her some of the accompanying stories that people have shared with me. She was quite horrified and I left her open mouthed.
I continued eating my blueberry muffin. As Yoda would say tasty, rather it was. After she closed her mouth she asked how am I getting the message out. That then prompted a five minute ‘gentle’ tirade from me on how difficult it is talking to black men, the things I have had said to me, the excuses they give me, how they act around me and as befits the occasion I saved the best till last. I told her how I was told by another church member that I had wished prostate cancer on myself by merely thinking about it and making a pact with the devil. She didn’t believe me at first. Bless her.
She hadn’t run off. I was having an intimate chat with muffin number two while she sat shaking her head.
Our church has a radio station and she asked me if I had spoken to anyone on there. I said,
“Someone had said something, but you know I said I will talk to anyone, anywhere, anytime. I am still waiting. Long ting” I smiled.
She got up and walked off. I started chatting up and whispering sweet nothings to muffin number three. (They were only those silly, little, posh, pretty looking, one bite, half a burp jobbies so don’t get it twisted)
Two minutes later she came back with Ivor, the radio station manager no less. I pushed aside the last crumbs of muffin impressed. She introduced us and promptly walked off.
I started to tell him of my story and that I have been trying to get it across to men. He said, quite randomly that I had a nice voice. That threw me for a couple of seconds but I carried on. I finished by saying that I am willing to talk to anyone, anywhere, anytime. We exchanged numbers and he said I should give him a call in the week.
I got to speak to him the week after. I asked him when and where he had in mind for the interview.
Erm, I very much got the wrong end of the stick.
Ivor, has in mind that I could be presenting my own show on the radio about men’s health and men’s topics. A kind of men’s magazine show.
It’s not often that the big mouth Ellis is rendered speechless. This was one of them. My head was spinning for days afterwards in disbelief. I even got the sprog’s to record a jingle for me.
No, you are not ready for that just yet 😊
I have been training for the last couple of weeks. You know it’s terrifying and exhilarating at the same time. Could be as soon as the end of May that I am loose on the airwaves.
Of course, I will let you know.
It’s been a long wait to get some good news my way.
Then I get four of them.