Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Rog T's Cancer blog - The Darkest place

For those of you who are regular readers and have read the previous posts, you can skip this first paragraph.This is the latest installment in my occasional series about how I'm adjusting to living with a big C in my life.  For those of you who aren't, here's a quick summary. I'm 49 years old and I recently had a prostate biopsy following two "slightly high" PSA tests - 2.8 & 4.1. The biopsy took ten tissue samples and one of these showed a "low grade cancer" which gives me a 3+3 on the Gleason scale. I'm now on a program of active monitoring. I've no symptoms and sadly for a few people, if I'm gonna die soon, it won't be from Prostate cancer. Got the picture?

Please don't read this post if you are looking for solace or inspiration, jaunty witty comments of something to cheer you up. This is going to be a bit grim. First the good news. I have no physical problems as a result of my little friend, as I lovingly call my tumour, so don't worry.

Pomegranite - reduces prostate cancer growth
What about the psychological side? Nope, I'm not alright at all. Last night I embarked on a mission to drink as much beer as possible in the shortest space of time I could. I really wanted to sit on my own somewhere and drink. Sadly for me, I met some friends and we had a bit of a laugh. Now in normal circumstances, that would be great wouldn't it? The thing is that right now all I really want to do is scream. If you met me, you wouldn't notice any difference. I look the same, I react the same, but it's all a show. I have been feeling progressively more angry since the start of the Xmas holiday. On Xmas eve, I spoke to a dear friend who also has cancer, is 4 years younger than me, is on morphine and can't eat at the moment. I have spent the last month reading everything I can, educating myself on how to make my chances better. Yet however well or badly I do, I can seemingly do nothing for my friend.

I see a shadow in the mirror and it's looking back at me. I have been studying my shadow a lot recently. I read a lot of military history and some years ago I read of a daring world war II mission by the US army air force, where they shot down a plane with Admiral Yamamoto on it, after breaking the japanese cypher codes. One of the Japanese naval ratings interviewed said they knew Yamamoto was going to die, because as he stepped on the plane, he had a "pale shadow". Every time I see my shadow, I check to make sure that it's not too pale. I am scared to see my friend in sunlight, lest his shadow is pale. Does this make sense? I'm sure it probably doesn't. The silly thing is that it's not my shadow that is the problem, it is the large shadow of the letter "C" in my life.

At Christmas it seems that we miss those people who have departed more acutely. It brings it home to us as we reminisce about loved ones and friends who are no longer here. What about those of us who may be making our way to the departure lounge. Now I'm clearly not, but I cannot get out of my mind bad thoughts about my friends predicament. I can't get over the arbitary nature of all this. If a gunman stood at the top of centre point tower and took potshots at people buying things at the January sales, they'd be rightly reviled as madman and a psychopath. How many people could they bump off, before the crowds scattered and the police took them down? 20? 30? 50? Each one with a backstory, each one cut down in their prime. Their face would be on the front of the Sun Newspaper as the face of evil - rightly so. The sad thing is that number would not even be a drop in the ocean of the number of people who die because of cancer. That is without the collateral damage of those injured and disfigured. Then there is the psychological torture of the families, watching loved ones being eaten alive by their own body. I happen to believe that much of this damage is avoidable.

Pesticide residue increase cancer risk
The research I've read couldn't indicate any more strongly that pesticides, plastic residue, Omega 6 fats, salt and a sedentary lifestyle all are contributing to the epidemic. Then there is smoking. Yet we have a government that does absolutely fuck all about it. Why? because they are in the pay of the corporations who are doing very nicely thank you.

The sad thing is that the corporations themselves are staffed by people, many of whom will themselves get cancer and die. How on earth have we got ourselves into a position where things that are clearly bad for us are allowed to be such an integral part of our every day life. These corporations cause a million times the misery of the lone nutcase gunman.

I am starting to drive my wife crazy by checking every label before we buy the product. Yesterday we went to Morrisons for the weekly shop. The only red wine vinegar they had was one which contained "Sulphites". What happened next? Well I drove us all the way to waitrose to buy one which was sulphite free. It costs more money but hey, I'm worth it. The thing is there is absolutely no incentive to eat organic food free of pesticide residue (apart from the fact eating it may make you live healthier and longer). The government gives no incentive at all to food manufacturers to produce healthy food.

We have warnings on packets of cigarettes that the product is carcinogenic, why not on food? The corporations claim that there is "not enough evidence" to support accurate labelling.  This is complete crap. There is a boom in the rate of certain types of cancers in western europe. These started to increase as pesticides and unhealthy food additives started appearing in the daily diet. The madman who shoots innocent strangers is rightly vilified, but what about the directors and shareholders of companies which cause untold grief. All of these companies have teams of lawyers, scientists and lobbiest all working to ensure they can carry on making a fortune from poisoning us.

Yesterday, I finished reading a book, written by a doctor detailing an anti cancer lifestyle. Maybe I shouldn't have read it over the christmas period. The fact is that I did and I could no longer contain my anger at this state of ours that allows companies to keep us ignorant as they poison us. From David Cameron down, we have a useless, spineless and dishonest regime that cares nothing for our health. What is worse is that when I discuss this with friends, most of them seem to think that I'm going off on one or joke that I've been "looking at too many American new age websites". People seem totally unwilling to recognise the fact that there is hard scientific evidence, in the mainstream which proves conclusively that much of what we eat is poisoning us slowly.

We are like frogs. If you put a frog into a pan of boiling water, it jumps straight out. If you put it in a pan of cold water, and turn on the gas, it sits there quite happily until it is boiled to death. Is that what we want? I've known quite a few people who have died of cancer. They have all asked the question "Why me?" The sad truth is that the answer for many was "because nobody told you that your lifestyle was making your body a place where a cancer can thrive".

Perhaps the final straw was listening to the Jeni Barnett Show on BBC 94.9. She was discussing "Bucket Lists". These are a list of things you want to do before you kick the bucket. I don't know if it's her smug manner or the fact that she was laughing and joking about it when discussing what you would do if you were given a week to live. I felt like ringing her up and saying that if I was given a week to live, the only thing I'd want to do is live two weeks or two months or two years and stick it to the people who do nothing to educate us to avoid the situation completely.

And last night, I'd reached the point where all of these things really started to get to me. So what did I do? I went to the pub, drank a skinfull and smoked half a packet of cigarettes. And I sat there quietly raging about all of this as I did it, beacuse nobody wants to know, nobody wants to listen and nobody cares. Perhaps the biggest irony of the whole thing was I saw an old friend who said "You're looking really good, are you on a diet". How do you respond to that when you feel like your head is going to explode? I replied "Yeah". I'm in a pretty dark place with all this right now, if truth be told. I cannot reconcile myself to the fact that we spend billions on healthcare, yet virtually nothing on keeping people healthy. I guess if I wasn't in my predicament, I too wouldn't care. But I am....

And just in case you are worrying, nope I don't want to shoot anyone, I just want the people who run the country to do their jobs for the people, not the corporations and give us the information we need to make informed choices. Is that too much to ask?


Jaybird said...

Rog, possibly not the most tactful post, given your mood, but if you would like something else to rage about take a look at this report on Monsanto

Rog T said...


Thanks, how much more of this shit is lurking out there.

caroline said...

Rog, one of the many reasons that I gave up drinking is because the government at the time seemed to be doing everything it could to encourage me imbibe morning, noon and night.
Now, I know that most people drink sensibly but there is a pretty significant proportion that given the chance will overdo it on a consistent basis. The statistics are showing up more and more young people suffering from damaged livers that previously were only seen in the middle aged or old. I followed my logic and decided that the government is involved in a cull by stealth.
If you've ever stopped drinking for any length of time you know first hand how people accuse you of being boring and encourage you to have just one. It takes a lot of strength of mind to resist this. Most people don't bother.
Now, while everyone loves a drinker, there is a huge well of judgmentalness towards someone suffering from cirrhosis (remember the outcry about George Best and his liver?), so the Daily Mail is unlikely to raise a campaign in sympathy with binge drinkers.
The upshot is that in 20-30 years time the pressure on the pension fund is eased because there have been so many premature deaths.

And you seriously expect the government to limit the use of carcinogens?

concernedcarer said...

Hi Roger

Well done you for reading all you can and educating yourself about the causes of cancer. The conspiracy of big bucks organisations is not new. It is outrageous that too little has been done so far to expose and exterminate these companies. Lots more to read - let me know if you need more. Maybe through barneteye, you will help to expose further. Wishing you good health, peace and joy linda

Rog T said...


To be honest I've never really been to bothered about what people call me, boring or otherwise. We all make decisions for the reasons that suit us. It doesn't work for everyone, but I do find that sometimes getting completely hammered helps. Works for me.