53. Are the boxes half full, empty or VIP?

Box

Today, Friday the 5th of July marks the 1st anniversary of the day that saved and changed my life. That would be the day that I was wheeled down to surgery for my hot date with the sexy Da Vinchi machine and ‘de-prostated’.

It seems surreal that it’s been a year and so much has changed. Mostly for the good but more than a fair share of poo. It’s been a crap couple of weeks, nothing PC or work related just what life throws and all that. I got kicked into place though on Friday when I attended a funeral. I found myself, as you do, travelling in the same car as the casket. In fact, it was directly behind me one. In true ‘Final Destination’ style I realised that there was a single fat shiny bolt between me and a mangled Ellis head, should the hearse be involved in an accident. More importantly thought was the realisation that I was having a whining like a chubby kid and there is this box behind me.

Time to count my blessings.

I was given a gentle telling off or ‘rubber chickened’ by one of the lovely peeps at Prostate Cancer UK for using the abbreviation PCUK in my blog.

They don’t like it!

Much like instantly trying to imitate a brummie accent to someone from Birmingham, a Ghanaian being called a Nigerian, a Canadian being called an American, a tight git being called ‘careful’ or that noise you make when that morbidly obese person stands in front of the dessert fridge in the supermarket. I have not quite insulted them but they would just like a correction. OK putting to one side the fact it’s my blog, I have a lot of time and love for that wonderful bunch so I will happily comply. I took it on the chin.

Prostate Cancer UK, [53 Tooley Street, London, United Kindom, SE1 2QN, ‘Non profile organization in the UK’ Registered charity number 1005541 and in Scotland SC039332. Solar system: Earth: Situated between Venus and Mars. To the left of France. GPS coordinates – Latitude 51.50484258738897 Longitude -0.08574485778808595]

had set me up with a talk in one of the largest Hindu temples in Europe and I had been looking forward to this for a couple of weeks. The brief was that there would be around 600 men in attendance so I was salivating at the chance to talk to so many men and get the message out there.

I was given a short tour of the fantastically ornate temple and an explanation of the ceremony that was currently taking place and the key people involved. Absolutely fascinating. They were still finishing off multi-million refurbishment so the room I was presenting in was state of the art. I had a great conversation with a lovely female junior doctor called Anula, who was presenting a cervical cancer talk to the women on the floor above. This is a young twenty four year old woman who knew exactly what she wanted to do and has studied so hard and for so long to achieve it. Now if that wasn’t enough she is finding time in her one hundred hour working week to passionately give back to her community. The kind of woman that you want to salute and poke in the eye at the same time, comparing her determination with my wasted youth. I have nose hairs that are older than her and yet have achieved little in comparison. Good on her!

I am quite an advocate for women attending these talks, they are very good at encouraging their men to go and get tested. I gently refer to it as the ‘nag factor’. However they thought that the men might be a bit shy talking openly in front of the women so the separate presentations. No problem at all.

Those reasonably well known rivals called England and India would, rather selfishly, decide to have some silly cricket match on exactly the same day so our 600 became a mathematically perfect 1/20 of that original number. As I always say though it’s not the number but the quality of the men and the ones that really want to be there that matter, so we had the right men in the right place. I was also excited because a year on from my operation I have so much more anecdotal input that I could add to the initial

Prostate Cancer UK, [53 Tooley Street, London, United Kindom, SE1 2QN, ‘Non profile organization in the UK’ Registered charity number 1005541 and in Scotland SC039332. Solar system: Earth: Situated between Venus and Mars. To the left of France. GPS coordinates – Latitude 51.50484258738897 Longitude -0.08574485778808595]

Powerpoint presentation that I started out with. The presentation took about forty five  minutes and I got two sets of applause so I must have done something right. Though I am not sure if the guy in the front row was sleeping or just concentrating very hard the questions from the crowd were intelligent and proved that I had got them thinking. I had some

Prostate Cancer UK, [53 Tooley Street, London, United Kindom, SE1 2QN, ‘Non profile organization in the UK’ Registered charity number 1005541 and in Scotland SC039332. Solar system: Earth: Situated between Venus and Mars. To the left of France. GPS coordinates – Latitude 51.50484258738897 Longitude -0.08574485778808595]

badges to sell and the donations were coming in note rather than loose change format, so they have a chunk of change coming their way. Even the ‘sleeping’ man at the front dropped a fat guilty note in. A couple of guys came over and shook my hand and thanked me for my presentation. One guy shook my hand and didn’t let go. He told me how moved he was and that it was a powerful message and he was sorry for what I went through. I smiled and said he had nothing to be sorry for and it was what it was. He was actually quite moved by it all. You had the easy bit mate, just listening!

There was a first for me in this presentation. One guy was going through Active Surveillance. He was being tested every three months and his PSA was steadily on the rise. I got the idea that he had never heard the term before so I explained the difference between Active Surveillance and Watchful Waiting.

Active Surveillance is where a high PSA reading is presented but for whatever medical reason the doctors do not want to treat immediately but instead continue to test the PSA at regular intervals. This allows them to identify how fast the cancer is growing over time and then make a decision. Watchful Waiting is where there is also a high PSA reading but the doctors simply wait to see if any other symptoms develop and then they may do something. Now we all know about how many people actually have prostrate cancer symptoms.

It is as brutal as that.

I was then introduced to the main man in the temple, who was in the basement office. He greeted me warmly and thanked me for the presentation though he could not attend myself. He even said as they were holding some special celebrations. Now this old git has been called many things over the years but VIP is a first. I take a lot of promises that are told to me when I give talks with a pinch of salt. However a few days later I got an email,

Hello Peter,

Firstly, thank you very much for your time last weekend the providing

our community with such a valuable and insightful talk on such an

important issue. Based on feedback, it was very well received and

appreciated you sharing your experiences with us. We hope we can

have similar sessions in the future.

As you may be aware, The Temple will be celebrating its anniversary

and the grand opening of the new facilities for the elderly and wider

community in a couple of weeks. We would very much like for you to

attend as our special guest. Please find attached an invitation from the

temple along with an Itinerary.

I have also copied in Anula whom you are familiar with and believe

she has already spoken to you about the event.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.



I’m going for sure!

Pop’s wife finally asked the right questions.

He has stage 4 liver cancer.

I exhaled for what seemed like ages. I asked her if they told her how long he had. She replied that they don’t tell you those things as their sole aim is to prolong life. I wanted to tell her that they will tell her, she is just not asking the right questions. However, I also didn’t want to seem ghoulish or eager to see him go. The fact that the old fool is still switching between being sweet and blowing little things up into arguments with her at least tells me I will be OK to plan to go and see him in August/September.

By the time you have read this my first radio show would have been aired. It was due to all the crap going on that I couldn’t get this blog out earlier. Having said that the first one is the weakest one I think, so happy for you to miss that one. I recorded my first of three shows on prostate cancer last week. That show was on the general stats, symptom’s and testing. The next one will be my story and the third one will be about all of the stories I have gathered since joining

Prostate Cancer UK, “53 Tooley Street, London, United Kindom, SE1 2QN, ‘Non profile organization in the UK’ Registered charity number 1005541 and in Scotland SC039332. Solar system: Earth: Situated between Venus and Mars. GPS coordinates – Latitude 51.50484258738897 Longitude -0.08574485778808595”

The Mandem radio show
Wednesday’s 5pm and repeated on Friday’s at 5pm
This weeks topic: Going to the Gym
Listen at Ruachradio.com
Ruachcitychurch.com
Ruach city church app
Tunein App

Work is about the only thing going right at the moment. I am absolutely loving it and have been given some great feedback about my performance. Today, Friday the 5th is ‘First Friday’. That would have been the big cake spread at 11am in the office and then the big meeting in the pub to talk about highlights for the company since the last meeting. Can you believe its mandatory to close down at 3pm, go down to the pub to hear the latest news and then we fed and watered for free until the late hours. Then we are all treated with free pizza and drinks late into the evening. That would have been a good way to take my mind of the big anniversary.

However, one of my aunties who died a few weeks back, is being buried today so that’s where I will be.

Boxes, boxes and more boxes, but we press on.

5 thoughts on “53. Are the boxes half full, empty or VIP?

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