The first time I had really known anything about prostate cancer was following our move from Doncaster to Anglesea during 2001. The home we purchased was situated two doors up from Ted (jnr) and Pam Whitten and it was meeting these two wonderful people that, indirectly, probably saved my life.
Having no previous experience with this disease and, having no symptoms as such, it was only through the several discussions with Ted, that I decided it was time to have my prostate checked. As with all other “macho” Aussie blokes, I had dreaded the thought of a digital examination, obviously no stroll in the park for my G.P. either, however my love of life outweighed my fears on this occasion so I proceeded with the arrangements to have the examination.
During 2005 I had the test and was informed that for my age there was no unusual enlargement of my prostate. Fortunately for me my G.P. is a very thorough type and also had me subjected to a blood test. It was established that my PSA level at 4.9% was slightly above what he was comfortable with. A follow up test was undertaken a month later when a reading of 5.3% was recorded at which time my G.P. strongly recommended that an appointment be made with Urologic Surgeon, Mr. Damien Bolton.
The ensuing appointment and subsequent biopsies confirmed my worst fears. “I HAD CANCER” albeit in the very early stages. Damien Bolton was excellent with his professionalism, manner, direction, explanation and advice and it was thus armed that I underwent surgery at Epworth Private Hospital in Box Hill in April 2006,to have my prostate removed.
I have since had three six monthly follow up blood tests all showing a PSA reading of nil. I have a further test due in March this year at which time Damien anticipates I will then go on to annual check ups.
I am a person that has enjoyed excellent health and fitness over my sixty four years to date. I am well aware that we all react differently under pressure and, whilst outwardly I appeared calm and handling things well, I can assure you that I had some very bad moments mentally post operation almost to the point of becoming cancer phobic. It was only thought the support of my wonderful wife Cheryl, (and my frequent discussion with, and support from, Ted ) together with the help of several visits to a local Psychologist that I finally realised I was winning my battle with this insidious disease.
I am still required to wear male pads when playing golf or during other strenuous exercise however I see this as a small price to pay given that I now have every chance to go on living a happy, healthy, energetic lifestyle for may years to come. Something I may not have had had it not been for a few informal discussions enjoyed with Ted on our back porch at Anglesea.
So to all you guys out there that are too tough to undergo a digital checkup, “don’t be so bloody silly”. It may well save your life. However I stress that, no matter what the result, insist it is followed up by a blood test to give a better chance of discovery should the enemy lurk within.
If what I have said encourages just one person to have these tests, I feel my contribution will be well worthwhile. This can then be added to three of the guys I have recently convinced to have the tests and were found positive, that all have since undergone successful prostate removals.
All this all now possible all because of a little chat over a beer with my mate Ted.
Yours in gratitude,