Last Friday the battery in my van had run down and I needed one of the tires reflated, so I called out the AA. About twenty minutes later along came Dave. A cheery, talkative chap. I soon found out that he was actually studying for the Knowledge. For those outside London that’s where trainee black cab drivers learn all the roads and streets of London and be able to describe in detail how to get from point A to point B from memory.
Dave is in his fifties and lives on his own as he has just split from his girlfriend. He really just wants to work for himself – as long as it’s to do with motor vehicles. It’s a career move that he has wanted to do for years. He has pains in his back so he cannot do anything that involves a lot of standing or heavy lifting like a mechanic. Initially he had thought of joining Uber but was put off by the investment needed in a new hybrid car. I got all of this within the first ten minutes.
I told him my van was only used for my photobooth and that I wanted to get rid of them both as I wanted to do less work and slow down.
I said “No-one ever said on their deathbed that they wished they had worked more”
He thought for a moment and smiled and agreed.
I told him that it was my birthday on Tuesday and that this birthday was going to be much better than the last one. I gave him a five minute talk on prostate cancer and my journey. I shocked him pretty well. I think I may have worried him a little in fact. He hunted around for a pad and paper so he knew what to ask his doctor for. As I was outside my house I went up and got some Prostrate Cancer UK leaflets for him.
He only came to jump start my van.
Now he was slightly worried and leaving with a handful of Prostate Cancer UK leaflets. He will be going to get himself PSA tested and he was also going to give Uber a try.
Who would have known a year later from that fateful day I would be making opportunities like this.
I realised then that I wanted to do another talk on my birthday. Not to white guys – that is too easy and rewarding. They listen, ask questions and then go and get tested. Job done. No, I fancied something more difficult – a room full of black guys. They generally listen but then make up their own mind that they are invincible and they don’t do anything. In the end I had left it too late so I was not going to do a talk.
Speaking of difficult black men, Pops is up and down but he still refuses to go to the doctors. He has bladder cancer that could be spreading. He has had blood in his urine but when it cleared up after a few days he decided that that means it’s all good. His wife is doing a fantastic job of caring for him but he chooses to think she is trying to get rid of him.
Today, May the 7th is my birthday and tomorrow will mark the first anniversary of my prostate cancer diagnosis.
It’s a strange feeling.
I am happy knowing that I was very, very fortunate. I had no symptoms and I only wanted a health MOT. It was not easy getting that and it was only my stubbornness that I persevered to get the MOT despite the obstacles thrown my way. Then add a doctor that cared that little bit more and asked me if I wanted a PSA test. I still have yet to talk to Dr C but his description of my prostate was that it was “pretty bashed up” when they opened me up. From what I now know about prostate cancer at best I could be stage three now and lost at least one set of nerves.
The feeling is not elation. More a feeling of quiet contemplation.
A year on and the King is back to 70% of what he was before the operation and I am back to being fully continent. On paper it may all be a fantastic achievement but it was a very hard year to actually live through.
The radio training is keeping me very busy. On Friday I had my first hour long show demo. I think I will be ready for my first outing by the end of the month. I don’t expect to tackle prostate cancer until at least three shows in.
I will let them settle in before smacking them right between the eyes.
I am happy and I am grateful.
I just know that there is still a lot to do.