So yesterday was the big day. The day where I get my annual review consultation. It is always stressful. I guess having lived for ten years with a disease that is the second biggest killer of men in the UK for the last ten years, I've been a bit more relaxed about the whole thing than many. Experimental vaccines? I had an experimental prostate procedure in 2016. "It's not been tested properly" I am part of the HiFu trial at UCH. When I hear people talking as though Doctors and researchers are malevolent evil maniacs, it makes me quite agitated. Medical science isn't perfect but it's the best chance we've got. Yeah, I drink the green tea and the Pomegranite juice, but that is because I've been told by people who know what they are talking about "it won't do any harm and may do some good". Anyway enough of that.
As ever I expect bad news. I have a few weeks before hand where I am anxious and edgy. I had the Euro 2020 to distract me, but from Monday, I didn't even have this. I generally don't drink during the week, so I didn't really even have alcoholic solace. Wednesday was the day. I normally have Wednesday off work, but my studio manager is on leave, so I had to work and get another staff member to cover the phone. Bang on the dot at 4.20pm, as I'd been informed, the phone rang.
In previous years, these consultations were face to face. Covid has brought in phone consults. I suspect that we won't go back to the old system. The news was very good, all was remarkably normal. In the circumstances, the phonecall is great. I didn't have to waste half a day travelling up to town. I do wonder what happens if the news is grim. It would be a different cup of tea if they were telling you that you had six months to live? When I was initially given the diagnosis in 2011, I had all sorts of pamphlets and other info thrust on me and a chat with a MacMillan nurse. That really wouldn't be the same on the phone.
The prognosis? Prostate looks normal for a bloke my age. I won't even need an MRI next year unless the PSA starts to go up significantly. The news doesn't really get much better. I felt quite elated. I sent an email to Eddie Nestor on BBC Radio London that he read out. I broke my own no drinking rule and had a bottle of Cobra with my friend who runs the Mill Hill Tandoori (just the one). He was delighted to hear the news. I had a band rehearsal, which inspired me to write a song to raise awareness of Prostate Cancer. It is provisionally entitled "Dont be frightened of a finger up your bum" it is a bit of a cross between the Pioneers and Ian Dury in sound. I may change the title and lyrics to make it less in your face for the radio edit.
So the bad news for all of you trolls and haters is that I'll be around a little while longer, God willing and if something does do for me in the near term it won't be Prostate Cancer. Tonight I play five a side football and then an early night. Tomorrow I'll celebrate.
The bottom line is that I was diagnosed early. That has massively helped my prospects. Don't be shy. If you have any concerns or you are in your fifties, ask your doctor for a check up.
For those of you who are regular readers and have read the previous posts on Cancer, there's what this is all about. I write this blog because knowledge is power and if you know what you are dealing with, you have more weapons in the locker to fight it. It is a personal view, I'm not medically qualified. This is for the sole purpose of information for those who are interested.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 54years old and in October 2011 I 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 gave me a 3+3 on the Gleason scale. I was put on a program of active monitoring. In early February, I got the results of the a PSA test - down to 3.5 and an MRI scan which found absolutely nothing, two more tests in 2012 were at 3.5 and 3.9, in 2013 my test was 4.0, Jan 2014 was 3.8, August 2014 was 4.0, February 2015 it was up to 5.5 and my latest in August 2015 was down again at 4.6. In October 2015 I had a transperinial Prostate biopsy, that revealed higher grade cancer and my Gleason score was raised to 3+4 (Small mass + more aggressive cancer). On 22nd Jan 2016 I had HIFU (Hi Intensity Focused Ultrasound) treatment at UCHL). My post procedure PSA in May was 4.0 which was down, followed by 3.7 in August, and 3.5 in October which means that the direction is positive . However in January the follow up MRI revealed "something unusual which requires investigation" After a follow up biopsy, it appeared this was nothing to worry about. My two most recent PSA tests were Ok (3.7 and 4.6) and an MRI scan in March was very positive. A PSA in October 2019 was 4.6, so stable and good news, the last in May 2020 was 5.45 a small rise, so worrying, however after a review against the most recent MRI, it was decided that this was fine.
I've no symptoms apart from needing to wee quite regularly and sadly for a few people, if I'm gonna die soon, it won't be from Prostate cancer. Got the picture?