NOBODY beats cancer because it can always come back, so to be told I’ve lost a prostate but gained a life is a wonderful stalemate.
As an initial reaction I’d like to thank my agent for agreeing not to operate on me and Mr Karim and Mr Afzal who actually did operate me. That was in another town and another county in what still seems to be a surreal take on another existence I’m still not sure happened to me.
I was actually cleaning wild garlic, mud and grass blades off my hands after a brief healing spell in the garden when the phone rang.
On the other end was Dorset County Hospital, Dorchester, and Mystic Meg lookalike Alison Lownes who, in a nutshell, told me that I no longer needed to contemplate drinking my entire stock of blackberry wine in the next few months but could plan a life which focused less on cancer and more on my longevity gene. My father is 94 and counting.
It got better. Six weeks after my make-or-break major operation, my blood PSA count (a chemical released by cancer which the medical professional can plot to determine how advanced it is) was the absolute most brilliant best it could be – just 0.01 or nearly a thousandth of what it had been.
On top of that tests showed my tumour had only attacked just three percent of my prostate and, crucially, had not reached the edge of my prostate and so had not spread to other bodily parts.
But don’t get your hopes up. You may still be rid of me yet.
I was told by DCH that there was still the possibility – however remote – that microscopic cells might bring cancer back into my life at some stage in the future, so they will be monitoring my PSA progress every six months or so with blood tests for the rest of my life.
That said, I still feel that I’m in a poker game where I’ve been dealt four aces….with the fifth tucked cautiously into my sleeve.
This has to rank as about the best news I have heard since I qualified for beer support tax!
I could have stayed in and spent hours on the phone ringing everyone up with my good news, I could have ignored that and just gone out with a few family and friends for a celebratory drink. In the end I did both.
My beer suddenly seemed packed with taste, my companions’ conversation both incredibly intelligent and witty and my surroundings at The Boot pub superbly atmospheric and up to the occasion, so maybe beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
I beholded about four pints, way more than I should have, but who cares. Life is life and all the sweeter for it.
Don’t get me wrong. I am on cloud nine at the moment, but I will still be turning up for all those six-monthly tests.
I am a bit euphoric at the moment, so I will close now with a huge thank-you to the many hundreds of people who have stuck by me and wished me well over the last six months.
My close friends have been brilliant, but it is a lot more than that because the community has genuinely supported me through a horrible time – don’t eat vegetable soup in hospital – for which I will always be grateful.
Only today I had five more best wishes from people who hoped I would pull through without – like myself – knowing that a few hours later I would be given a lifeline on life.
It just goes to show that, in the great annual scale of things, your cancer may force you to focus on February but good news means it’s Christmas all the way.
Have a great weekend to you all. I certainly will….and that celebration night I have talked about is definitely in the offing. Enjoy the rest of your life.