I had the meeting with my line manager and it was all good news. They were very happy with my work and how I have fitted in with the team. Probation passed no problem at all. I am now a permy.
Hmmm, what follows a run of good luck with Ellis eh……
The cancer support group, that I have been a part of from March this year, had me scheduled to do a Prostate Cancer talk. Normally there are around ten members in attendance but today there were twenty – just for my talk. I was pleasantly surprised, because percentage-wise, it was much more than some of multi-million organisations I have been asked to deliver Awareness talks that promised many but delivered squid.
I went through my standard presentation. It lasts for forty-five minutes in all and covers the facts and figures of prostate cancer and then my personal story. As with most people they were shocked by the statistics and the reasons why guys may be denied a PSA test and the government published paper recommending that guys that are not showing symptoms should not be offered testing. I then went onto my story finishing with details of this blog and why I created it.
They applauded, which is always good. People only applaud because they are being polite, they are really happy to see the back of you (just like that aunt that HAS to sing – very, very badly – at that family function because she believes they are clapping and smiling because it was so good) or they really appreciated what you had to say. I am happy to report it was the latter. How do I know you ask? – BECAUSE THEY SAID SO – funny man/woman J A few of them said they enjoyed my openness and one man, in particular, said that they had listened to other talks and found this one the best yet. It was funny, very informative, refreshing and honest. He commented. He had a whole list of questions that I was more than happy to answer.
Someone even let off the ‘natural remedy’ grenade.
I smiled and took my time to answer. I am this new person that no longer froths at the mouth at the sound of herbal remedy (well not all the time). I told them about people who I have encountered, in-person and online. I told them of my friend who’s funeral I attended because she was chasing a herbal remedy to her breast cancer. I mentioned that in the countries where these so called cancer busting foods and herbs are abundant and free, they still manage to have some of the highest instances of prostate cancer in the world. I told them that I was not someone that would not listen to ideas.
However when you say you or your good friend has a cancer cure and have cured umpteen people but alas you cannot produce one of these people. Not one. Not even a video call from them if they cannot be there in person.
I just wanted the stories backed up. I don’t want to hear what a salesperson had told them, who in turn had been sold a tale from the wholesaler. I don’t want to hear folk law. I don’t want to hear what someone had concluded based on another crackpots idea. All I have ever asked for is some recognised report or clinical research. That’s it. Really, really simple.
It was at his point that the organiser felt that she had to apologise to the group for my language. That one caught me by surprise a little as I certainly do not use any profanity in my talks or go for the shock factor. In fact, I may have called the author of the report I mentioned a twit and I said “There is nothing digital about the test, it’s a finger up your bum”. Nothing there that needs an apology.
It’s all there in the facts. I was a bit shocked but I let it slide.
What I don’t do is sugar coat anything or hold anything back. Guys don’t come through the doors and say please give it to me gently and tell me all the good stuff. One of the bolder women in the audience asked me about sex – well eventually anyway. She fumbled and flustered a bit getting there and went around the houses. I have to say I enjoyed watching the stumble and the hushed room who didn’t know if or how I would answer. I soon addressed that answer in colour and HD. After I answered her questions the host turned to the room and apologised again for me. It ticked me off the second time but I just smiled a little to myself and just didn’t take the bait.
A guy that I had never met or seen at the group before put his hand up. He said that he was so very grateful for the talk because he had just been diagnosed with prostate cancer and had an appointment next week to get a second opinion from a different hospital. He had also been told that he “Cannot, not do anything about it”. That choice of words caught me a little because it was exactly what I was told word for word. It is still just as strange now as it was then. The really poignant part was to come. He was talking about his upcoming appointment and he wasn’t sure if the person that he asked to come with him will be able to make it. He also mentioned that he would also be seeing Dr C in a couple of weeks.
Now that got my attention. The elusive Mr Cathcart (Dr C) who I have been trying to interview for over a year. My surgeon to those who have not followed this blog from the start.
Within seconds a few of the attendees had already offered to go to the appointment with him. That single moment really restored my faith in basic humanity and left an impression. I never asked for anything from this group but I just got it all there and then. He asked if we could keep in touch and I said I was already going to give him my number.
After the meeting, I had the opportunity to talk in-depth to the man. The guy’s name is Martin and he had been told that his PSA was elevated. Not by much just over five. He had a biopsy and hence the second opinion. I had told him that I wish I had spoken to a version of me at his stage. Instead, I got the sugar-coated version. In fact, there was another guy in the group who had also had the operation years ago and during the question and answer session, I mentioned the biopsy and the first pee. The other guy smiled and laughed as I described holding onto the sink basin in pain when I had the first pee after the biopsy. He knew exactly where I was coming from. A little while after the biopsy you have the misfortune of having to pee out the blood clots. It was the most excruciating pain I had ever had connected down there. I had no idea it was coming and vowed never to pee again. Of course, I did later but it was painless. It’s only the first time when passing the blood clots from the biopsy.
I was aware that I had to rein back a bit talking to Martin like I do to others in his position. My matter of fact personality, taken on its own, could seem to downplay the stages and effects of prostate cancer even though I am clear to not to hold anything back. His questions though were from someone that had read a lot of medical documents and extracts but little of what it is to live with the real-life effect of this condition. Away from the others, he wanted to know what every guy fears – his sexual function. He wanted detail and that’s what he got. He was much happier after our personal talk.
…..Two weeks later……..
I have now managed to scale my ‘Moby Dick’ hill five consecutive times now on my morning run so it has been downgraded to a ‘large fish’ instead. I even wonder what the problem was before. The last thing that I need to do is eliminate the three-minute walking/break period and then I will set another challenge.
I was filming at a friend’s talent night as you do. There were people reciting poetry, singers and interviews. There were also various vendors selling and promoting their businesses. One ‘Dr’ was selling health supplements but I was looking from a photographic point of view so I didn’t pay him any attention. At the end of the talent acts the vendors got to have a quick chat. Dr Fool went unscripted for twenty minutes and was just warming up, just getting started. I have to give it to him his shite was unscripted and comprehensive. Eventually, he turned to his bottle of miracle supplements and started to reel off a number of ailments. I got that feeling that good old prostate cancer or a cancer cure was coming up. He didn’t disappoint,
“Cancer cannot survive in an alkaline environment but if we are eating an acidic diet, lots of biscuits cakes etc then we are leading to a state where we are leading towards cancer. Cancer can also start in an emotional body. Some people have forgotten to forgive in the Kingdom they hold grudges they hold resentment. Every person that has cancer has emotional bitterness, lack of forgiveness as well as also resentment. Everyone who has cancer on this planet because that is where the energy hits you.”
I really resent you dumbass, but that only developed in the last half an hour. He didn’t leave out our friend the Liver,
“Anger is getting stored in what? The Liver”
I just cannot make this rubbish up or seem to escape it. My face instantly reverted to the face you give when you are not just hit with a wet fish in your face she also lays eggs in your mouth and pees on it just to make sure. He was too caught up with himself and single-handedly saving the world with his miracle pills to see my reaction. I spent much of the remaining night fuming and venting at his nonsense. However, as I was the hired help I just kept away and kept my big mouth shut.
I had kept in contact with Martin and it was confirmed that he had prostate cancer. His next appointment was with Dr C. I had asked Martin if he could pass on a message to Dr C. I knew that his appointment would not be traumatic based on our previous chat and how he felt in himself. Turns out he does indeed have prostate cancer but it’s 6 compared to my Gleason score of 7. What that means is that he will instead be on Active surveillance where he will have regular testing until something has to be done. I am very happy for him and told him to go forth and make good use of it as its very different afterward.
He gave my blog card to Dr C and he smiled and then said just give him my email address and tell him to email me. Was it really that easy after all this time and my previous attempts?
I did just that. I emailed him the same day. A few days later I got a reply,
Many thanks for your email
First I am sorry I haven’t seen you after your operation – a shame
It sounds like you have been doing tremendous things – well well done – amazing
More than happy to be interviewed for a blog
Let me know roughly how long will take and we can look at a suitable time
Well done again for your tremendous work
Fantastic to hear from you 🙂
I just decided that I wasn’t going to stay quiet about prostate cancer. I had no idea where it would lead me
Let’s say an hour for the interview – I can either have it on the blog or my radio show or both
You have made my day
Just occurred to me. Would I be able to observe one of your operations??
I thought no harm in asking 😁
Just awaiting the reply….