Friday 14th October and Monday 30th October

Well been a while since I blogged, but I promised not to bore you with everydaymundanity! So, for an update on the last 3 weeks. My condition has continuallyimproved to the extent that really I now have no condition at all! All the wounds are healed, and all there is to show for Leonardo’s endeavours are 3 bruises which are fading rapidly. I took it easy for 2 weeks after catheter removal. On week three I started walking the dog and indulged in some gentle jogging. This week I have been back up to my full blown run up in Wentwood. Dog thinks his nightmare is finally over! I am going a little slower than before, but that is more my cardiovascular fitness after 4 weeks of torpidity! The area of the operation feels fine. There is a slight ache occasionally, as if I have done too many sit-ups, but no discomfort or pain at all.

It is really difficult to describe how well I feel. It is almost as though I have not had any major surgery at all. All bodily functions continue to be business as usual. There are 2 items I never thought would have happened over the last few weeks……… Wales reaching the semi-finals, and me being in a condition to really enjoy the event!

Next Friday for the PSA test before final consultation with Ed in Bristol, and then back to the lovely people in Cardiff. Whilst this is not an experience I would recommend for recreation, it really has been a minor inconvenience given the magnitude of the condition I had, and the excellent prognosis the procedure promises to deliver.

Monday 30th October

Went for the PSA test on Friday 21st October. Phoned in for the results on Wednesday 26th.  The lady on the end of the phone probably thought I was slightly unhinged as I whooped deliriously as she told me the level was less than 0.01! Collected some printed copies of the test to take to Ed for Friday’s consultation, then proceeded to phone first my wife, then my son, daughter in New Zealand, sister and cousin…….it was the exact reverse of the daunting task of contacting all my nearest and dearest when I found out I had the disease in the first place. Then I was spreading concern and worry, this time it was relief and joy.

Saw Ed on Friday at 10.30. Went on the monster motorbike to:

  • Show off how well I had recovered
  • Cut through the horrendous Bristol traffic
  • Remind myself what a fantastic privilege it is to be alive, fit and well to enjoy the thrill and ecstasy of such a machine in such a wonderful world.

Arrived 20 minutes early so read the Times. Ed called me in very punctually and we had a good chat. As the PSA is so low, I do not need any further treatment. However, in the first year I have a PSA test every 3 months, 2nd year every 4 months etc pro rata until it’s just once a year. This is to just make sure there is no diseased tissue left, even though the histology showed no ingress of malignancy outside the envelope of the prostate. He checked the wounds, but to be honest there was hardly anything left for him to check- all the bruising has gone, no scars at all, and one little scab left above my navel. Took a copy of the histology of the removed prostate gland for the good people in Cardiff who I am seeing tomorrow- but essentially I am cured. However I ran it close the to edge- there were 4 nodes of malignancy, and although they were all Gleason 6, one of them was showing progression to Gleason 7. Something else will kill me in the fullness of time, but it is highly unlikely to be anything to do with my prostate. We then proceeded to have a good laugh about England’s off piste performance in the World Cup!

So my fellow bloggers, the morals to this tale are:

  • If you are over 50 have regular PSA tests, or even earlier if there is a history of it in your family. It doesn’t hurt at all and it is the only way of picking up early prostate cancer, which generally has no symptoms until it had started to spread outside the prostate.
  • If you have a high PSA level for crying out loud have the testicular fortitude to put up with the discomfort of the biopsy. It is not pleasant but it could save your life!
  • If your urologist recommends further investigative work, then take his or her council. If you have followed this blog, you will have realised I was playing Russian roulette ignoring Professor Kynaston’s advice, and how close I came is revealed in the previous paragraph.
  • If professional opinion allows, take time to weigh up the alternative treatments. Talk to other men to have had the treatments to help you decide. You will have gathered from the above I am a huge advocate of the treatment I had, especially as I have come through it with none of the possible after effects.
  • Involve your family as much as you can- they are a great support as you go through the treatment
  • Keep your emotions in balance- you will go through various spectrums of despair to ecstasy, but there is every possibility of a great outcome. But if you let anxiety consume you, your own mind will become a worse enemy than your condition.
  • BE POSITIVE THROUGHOUT! The technology and the expertise is there to rid you of this scourge so long as you don’t fall into the pitfalls of 6.
  • If you go for the operation don’t worry too much about the catheter- it’s a mild inconvenience, and can be a source of great hilarity.
  • If you have an overenthusiastic sloppy big mutt for a pet, watch out for his attempts to improve your convalescence.

So, I will conclude this dispatch at this juncture. I hope it has amused and entertained as well as being informative of what it is like, from a patient’s perspective, to undergo radical surgery.

All the very best and good luck to you all.

Dai John

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