I had intended to use my fiftieth blog entry to catch up on people and blogs that I had mentioned or featured previously. That was the plan until that rouge PSA count knocked me for six.
I went from a leanish, meanish killing machine to a cuddly, grumpy food Death Star. I stubbornly kept that up until the end of the May then I was back to eating healthy and a resolve to lose weight. I am even giving up on the ice cream (nothing to do with the last couple of tubs being full of ice and turning the night air blue). So a couple of weeks later here it is.
Oh, one other thing. I mentioned a few weeks ago about my next talk. Well the date has been put back a week so here are the new details,
Tuesday 18th June at 6.30 pm
Walworth Methodist Church
54 Walworth Road
Well pops has been telling me one story and the reality is very different. He would just tell me that he has some pain in his hips and otherwise he is fine.
His wife has a very different story.
He has had blood in his urine for a while now and had been trying to hide it and for a couple of days it was heavier than normal. He finally agreed to go to the hospital but then when it stopped he decided that it was therefore OK. He did finally admit that the doctor has said that he has a tumour in his urethra that needs to be scraped. They don’t know yet if it is cancer. He had a couple of appointments due for early April. At the first appointment a kidney specialist said that he should consider dialysis as his kidney function is so poor. At the second appointment the surgeon confirmed that the tumour is indeed cancerous. They also discovered a lesion on his Liver that may also be cancerous.
The full story came out at a third appointment with the surgeon. Pops had bladder cancer as far back as 2011 which he left untreated, for whatever reason. That has now spread to his liver and is also blocking one of his kidneys. I called him yesterday and he had a liver biopsy on Tuesday and is still waiting on the results.
22. Who let the volunteers out
Dave (Triple D) continues to promote health events across London and the south east. His plans for the next twelve months include,
Continuing targeting faith groups and sports clubs, working with his local doctors surgery and patient groups, working with Prostate Cancer UK on a case study for their legacy team and working with men to collect case studies.
I asked him if he had given out or received any nuggets from his talks – as only he can do. He did not disappoint. He received a comment from one man at a recent prostate cancer charity event,
“I have been told by my consultant that I have twelve months to live but I want to speak to my uncle and female herbalist who have cured cancer”
We both sighed, shook our heads in unison and left that one right there.
23. Work, the big talk and a slap in the face
Watson was the guy that contacted me after my talk in church regarding his experience in trying to get a PSA test. The doctor lied to him and said that the test involved putting a camera down his penis and was very invasive and painful and topped if off with saying,
“He really didn’t want to do that”.
He finally went back to have the test after speaking to me. I was peeved to say the least and offered to speak to the doctor. Actually being totally honest, I was fuming and spoiling for a fight. His doctor declined saying he didn’t have time that but he asked for my blog details.
So no time for a two minute ear bashing but time to read fifty blogs. Yeah sure!
The PSA result was normal. His brother also went to go and have a test but unfortunately fared a little differently.
His PSA was raised and eventually a biopsy concluded that he had prostate cancer. I got the impression that he was still a little shell shocked so didn’t ask further. He is yet to decide on the course of treatment.
32. The Other Side
The last time I had spoken to Dee Dee’s dad Richard he was waiting for the results from his recent chemotherapy. There had always been a bit of confusion over what he had actually been told, what he thought he had been told and what the evidence pointed to. I asked him how his appointment went and he replied “It went very well, the doctor said that I didn’t need the operation”. That again didn’t make much sense based on our last conversation so I just left it there.
35. On the radio they said delays can be life changing.
Alberto was the guy that had come along to the PC presentation that I held at work. He shortly found out that his dad, Giovanni, was scheduled to have a biopsy but he didn’t tell him why. From what he learned at the presentation not only did he know exactly what was happening with his dad, he was able to give him and the rest of the family peace of mind. Giovanni did indeed have prostate cancer and went on to have the radical operation. The operation went very well, most of his nerves were saved and he was up and about the next afternoon. His other son, who lives in Vancouver, had come over to spend time with him. Also his wife is a practising nurse and had been given two weeks off to look after him. He had started pelvic floor exercises five weeks before his surgery so once the catheter was taken out he only had minimal leakage. In fact he only had to worry about stress incontinence. At his eight week post op assessment he was 95% continent.
Nine weeks after the operation he was only occasionally using a pad a day and he had gone and booked himself on a twelve day cruise. As you do.
Jammy sod, how dare he recover so fast! 🙂
Giovanni has been following the blog and said that it has been very useful. We also text/email from time to time. Only too happy to help where I can.
39. Lights, Camera and Action. What would Denzel do with my week
Richard was the gentleman who had a Digital Rectal Examination (DRE) and a MRI scan which were both normal. However his PSA was raised and he had a doctor that would not quit easily. The doctor sent him for a second MRI with contrast. This second MRI scan showed up a shadow that was not present on the first. A biopsy confirmed that he had prostate cancer and he went on to have the radical operation. We had met for a meal before the operation so he knew what to expect, ask and milestones/timelines. It all went perfectly well for him. In fact, like Giovanni, he had more problems with the aftercare than anything else.
The pre-operative and post-operative courses that I had at Guys hospital were excellent – as I have mentioned beforehand. What I didn’t know is how it contrasts to what other men have to go through at other hospitals. Both Giovanni and Richard had very little in the way of pre-operative sessions and just as shocking was the post-operative care. What they both had in common however was the shocking problems they had with getting incontinence pads. They were effectively left to their own devices in obtaining these. When they told me I was shocked. Before I left hospital a delivery was already set up for me and I only had to make a phone call. The last thing these guys needed to worry about was how and where to get pads from. Both of their hospitals offered them no help in this matter. Luckily I had been given an industrial delivery, so I was able to share them. However this should never have been the case.
Guys hospital have also completed the video, with yours truly in it. I have yet to see the final version and will let you know when I do.
Well of course, no catch up would be complete without hearing from your favourite contributor Dennis.
Yes, that same Dennis you all went mad about, said was funnier than me and suddenly made you all forget about me.
Not that I am bitter about you bunch of filthy traitors or anything. Well here he is….
And yes of course, I am interested 😊
42. Second chances might only come around once
Peter got in touch recently. He was asking people who had contributed to his shortlisted-for-an-award-blog if they’d send in an update. Whether he’s actually interested, or whether he just wants someone else to do the writing so he can have a few weeks off, I’m not sure. But he was kind enough to compare me to Brad Pitt, so I’ve got to assume his heart is in the right place. Mind you, he compared himself to Denzel Washington which makes me think that he may need an eye test as a matter of some urgency…
I went back and read what I’d written last time. (I was ‘Dennis’ by the way, which was all kinds of weird. You may be aware that Peter uses pseudonyms when talking about other people, and Dennis was my Dad’s name. I am not Dennis Jr. Our family is from North London, not Texas.) My first thought was ‘Gosh, I rabbited on quite a lot.’ and my second was, so what has happened since?
Well I’ve had a couple more PSA tests. Last week’s was 0.05. Now it’s interesting, reading Peter’s 50th entry. His reading was 0.06 and it was a cause for concern. I was told I was all good. There really isn’t much consistency when it comes to this sort of thing. But when I think about Prostate cancer, the main thing is… I don’t really. As I said before, I was extremely lucky. It was caught early, the treatment went well, and so far… (looks around for some wood to touch.)
In fact, other than the regular PSA checks, there are probably only two things that bring it back to mind. When I’m getting dressed in the morning I’m standing in front of a full length mirror. Not for reasons of vanity – that’s just what our wardrobe doors are like. Now most mornings I don’t have my glasses on, so the pink blur in the mirror could be Mr Blobby, it could be George Clooney. Or indeed, Brad Pitt. But once in a while I’ll have my glasses on and I’ll catch sight of those six little tell-tale scars.
The other time?
You may recall an advert that was running a while back, with a cute French lady on a skiing holiday. She sneezes with enough force to dislodge some snow from a window ledge and giggles in a coquettish manner.
“I just had an oops!” she says.
As regular readers may recall, I had a slightly different operation to many who undergo Playstation-assisted surgery, which meant that – in theory – my chances of incontinence were much reduced. And thus it has proven.
Now and again, if I haven’t had a pee for a while, when I sit down in a car, the combination of being folded up, plus the sudden pressure on my nether regions can result in an ‘oops’.
Or more accurately an “Oh sh**!”
Long t-shirts, people – they’re a lifesaver.
These days I concentrate more on my type-2 diabetes. Specifically, trying to shift enough of my very un-Brad Pitt like blubber to get my scores down sufficiently to get me off the tablets.
But prostate cancer will always be a part of me. A part that’s sitting on some laboratory slide, thankfully, but a part of me nonetheless.
I’m doing ok. If you, or someone you know, is fighting any form of cancer, I hope you are too.
46. All the fives – five, five and five again
In this blog the we followed the week of a nurse in a prostate cancer clinical trial. One patient who was scheduled for surgery and was always very prompt for all his appointments promptly disappeared when his surgery day came around. Despite their many efforts he simply disappeared and has stayed that way.
I went to visit the barber that approached me at the Hackney Empire. I had decided the personal touch was better then slinging them in the post.
Trust me to select the weekend with the East London side of tube shut down due to engineering works. No easy feat, I can tell you. I positively felt like one of those climbers, laden down with battered oxygen tank and foot grapons, finally sticking a little flag on the mountain top. This barber wanted to offer a discount to men that could prove that they had had a PSA test. I gave him a couple of boxes of leaflets, from Prostate Cancer UK, regarding PSA testing for black men. He was in the middle of shaving someones nut so I didn’t get into any great conversation with him. He did appreciate the personal delivery though.
He said he would get in touch with me when he was going to start the offer. I still have yet to hear anything from him.
48. Wait Long Enough and Then They Come in Fours
Take the midway point between a household brick and a fit strapping salmon, backup a chunk towards the brick end and that’s where I am in relation to my swimming. I am still thoroughly enjoying it and getting better.
The radio station chief said people when they are training fall into two groups. There are those who don’t have enough content so they just play a lot of music and those who have lots of content but struggle with the channels/mixing/fading stuff.
I have plenty of content. Like anyone could accuse me of not having a lot of chat. I also used to think that a radio DJ was one of the easiest things in the world to do. I now sing another tune. Despite having my first test caller into the show and promptly cutting them off first time and then just totally losing them the second time, I am told I have made great progress.
I am about one more test session from having my show reel show completed and then being let out into radio world….