84. Decisions Do Not Have Rewind Button. Part One.

Cassette Recorder

Buyer’s remorse is defined as “a feeling of regret or anxiety after making a purchase. It usually occurs after a person makes a significant purchase, such as a home or new car, but it can occur after smaller purchases”.

The sellers wise up by either taking a decent cut back out of the refund price or forcing the buyer to take a credit note or something similar. Buy a pair of the wrong colour Speedos or ‘Budgie smugglers’ as the Aussies say and unless they disintegrated upon body contact, you can expect laughter at the till and perhaps a helpful escort to the door by a unfriendly security guard.

Take the same idea, turn it a little bit and ‘Decision regret’ is where someone in a health setting, eventually regrets the decision they made regarding the course of their treatment. In prostate cancer it would be the patient who decides on a radical prostatectomy and regrets they didn’t go for another treatment instead or they had one of the other treatments available for prostate cancer and wish that they had opted for the radical prostatectomy.

I have always walked a fine line in this blog by not suggesting one treatment over another. Something so important, no, actually life changing is a personal decision. Even the doctors will only make a suggestion if your current state of health means one option will be more dangerous than another. Other than that you are on your own. I was given two brown A4 envelopes. One had the details about the prostatectomy – the procedure, side effects and FAQ’s while the other had the same about radiation and hormone treatment. I had two weeks to make the life changing decision. I remember I had made up my mind very early – just a couple of days. When I went back to the hospital they said they were very surprised to see me because every black patient always asks for more time to make the decision. I didn’t realise it then but that was to set the tone for my future public talks about prostate cancer. White men are easy – they listen and they go and get tested. The majority of black men would make me earn my keep and more so.

Jay is the youngest of his dad, James, five children from three different wives. James was an air force man, born in 1939 and he had Jay in 1980. Jay would describe him as a dominant man but not one that was never there for him. When he divorced Jays mum it was totally amicable with them both putting him first. His dad was always there for every school event, every ball game. Jay would describe his dad’s fourth wife as a worthless b***h. Jay’s brother Carl is the eldest at sixty one and there are three girls in-between. Jay’s best friend and his brother had an abusive father. James was there for them to the extent that they called him dad. James was the type of man that didn’t have a problem kissing him on his cheek, hugging him and telling him he loved his son.

That’s the kind of man his dad was.

Jay’s mum and dad had divorced when he was five. Eleven years later his mom’s second marriage would go to pot. However, this guy was abusive, physically verbally, emotionally and financially. At one stage he even tried to kill her. She would fall into a severe depression and the technical term was non-functional and pretty much everything he did to her, she turned around and did to Jay. She would pretty much just lay in bed all day and Jay had to bring her food and look after his little step-sister as well as her father was not interested in her. Eventually Jay would become seriously messed up and got to the point where he was sleeping all day and staying up all night because he didn’t want to deal with anybody.

Now this was twenty odd years ago, so mental health was not given the exposure that it has been given today. He went to see a psychiatrist and they pumped him full of drugs. He could focus but it affected his memory and health. Eventually Jay had to admit that he could no longer do this on his own. There was only one problem reaching out to his dad. Her.

James’ wife Lynn is a very brilliant businesswoman with multiple degrees. She was in charge of billion dollar budgets. She was an important woman but also very controlling and manipulative. A woman, unfortunately, that Jay got into a serious fight with, which temporarily ended his relationship with his dad. His dad was from that generation where you always back your wife, no matter if she was wrong. Previously, James also lost his relationship with his middle daughter Lisa. She also got into a fight with Lynn and James sided with Lynn. Lisa would never spoke to him again. Lynn’s only concern was spending a lot of money building a house in the Bahamas. She was obsessed with it and they were always going over there for months at a time.

One day Jay just picked up the phone and called him out of the blue. He just said, I’d like to see you  and he said okay. Jay walked up to his dad, his dad stood up and gave him a great big hug and he said, “I love you. I really missed you.” And that was it, they were talking again.

Jay initially couldn’t bring himself to tell his dad what he had been through because he was ashamed and embarrassed. He felt trapped. Eventually it came out after about a year when Jay broke down completely on the sofa next to his dad.

His dad never cried or was one for emotion, but that day was the only time in his life that he ever saw his dad with a tear in his eye.

His dad would apologise for not doing more for Jay because he knew something was going on. He even asked Jay to move in with him several times, but Jay didn’t want to leave his sister behind. It was from that point Jay’s dad would become the most important person in his life and his best friend. All the things Jay could not tell him before he told him.

It didn’t matter where Jay was or what he was doing, his dad would check up on him and if he went a couple of days with not contacting his dad, his dad would be contacting him.

Jay cannot remember the exact year, it was either 2015 or 2016 that his dad started talking about having some pain in his back. His dad had a lot of tests done but doctors couldn’t figure out what it was. They thought it might be related to James’ injury from jump school in the Air Force when he had hurt his shoulder during a night jump. They kept running checks on his shoulder thinking that it was  nerve damage or something similar. Eventually they found out it was in fact prostate cancer.

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