So many of us are reluctant to trouble the doctor with what we may think of as minor ailments which we think we are bound to get as we get older.
I am pleased to say that I am fairly well after treatment for prostate cancer and (touch wood) that should be the end of it. However the fact that I had cancer in the early stages would not have been picked up if I had avoided going to the doctor. I had thought of several excuses not to go before I finally came down on the side of thinking there would be no harm in seeing my general practitioner.
If you are interested, I am joining the Movember campaign to improve men’s health worldwide by getting them to take notice. I am committed to growing a moustache for the thirty days of November. It will my first ever moustache and I did not even have one when I had the bushy curly almost Art Garfunkel hair in the Seventies. Oh that I had some of that hair now!
Here is my Movember page. Please forgive the all upper-case motivation section. That is the website format, and I did not mean to shout. If you feel able to help I will be grateful, but if not (because there are so many “good causes”), then that is OK too.
So, how have I been after my brachytherapy? Overall I am relatively well six months on, and definitely making good progress.
When I left hospital, I felt very bruised and swollen. My waterworks required my spending a long time in the smallest room and I felt very uncomfortable in that area most of the time; not just when paying a visit. I did have a reasonable amount of energy, and managed to get back to work (from home) in a few days. I also managed reasonably well at my Mother-in-Law’s funeral, at least physically anyway.
After about six weeks I visited the hospital for a scan which was apparently for the nuclear physicist’s audit purposes only, to see that all the radioactive iodine pellets were in the right place. I saw my consultant shortly after that and, having had a blood test, was told that my PSA had fallen to 4.1, which was good. I was feeling a lot better, though the waterworks were not great.
Another week after that and I suddenly felt terribly tired all the time, and did find it very difficult to work for more than a couple of hours in the morning. I now understand that was because the radiation had really kicked in. During that time at the beginning of June I went to an exhibition at the Excel Centre in London, but had to come away after a couple of hours as I felt very tired and faint. I confined myself to barracks for a few weeks after that. I understand that not every patient has these symptoms of fatigue, but it is very common with any sort of radiotherapy.
In mid-July my energy started to return, and at the beginning of August, virtually overnight, my waterworks came back to virtually normal, though I still have a few side-effects of the treatment. I have to say I am feeling much better.
I saw my consultant again. My PSA was only 0.6 which sounds great, and apparently is on course for a cure. However, I might expect a PSA “bounce” after one or two years which is normal and not generally anything to worry about.
At the end of August I went to an afternoon presentation run by the hospital for prostate cancer patients, which was very useful. I learned a great deal about what to expect for myself, and the difficulties that others have whose cancer was more advanced than mine, and might have spread into the bone or lymph nodes. It reinforced my feeling that I have been fortunate, and when one of the nurses spoke about “curative” patients present, I knew that included me.
I am a satisfied customer, but not complacent. I have been lucky and will make sure I attend all my check-ups. Not every chap is as fortunate to be picked up before he has a serious problem from cancer. Any guy over fifty needs to see the doctor if he has any symptoms at all in the downstairs department, and also all of us should see our doctors regularly as we get older so that we can have any tests needed and make informed decisions about our health.