Bob's Story

Hello, I'm Capt.Bob, aged 67

I have spent over 50years as a seafarer, dealing with all sorts of difficulties in a hands onway, and when I was told that I had Prostate Cancer and that it was an aggressive sort, I felt I was in a worse predicament than Capt. Smith when he was called to the Bridge and told that the Titanic had collided with an Ice Berg. I had no control over what was happening and this was a totally new experience for me. What next? What, if anything, could I do to help save the ship, if I may use the nautical metaphor?

It had all started with a phone call from an old shipmate just after the New Year. There had been no symptoms, other than a slight need to pass water more frequently, which I thought was part of growing Old. My friend Terry mentioned in conversation that he'd had a PSA test and as I hadn't a clue what this was he explained.

A couple of weeks later I had a blood test for PSA and was surprised when my doctor phoned the next morning with the result. Such speed in the NHS is never a good sign!
I opted to have a biopsy rather than wait and have another PSA test and I'm glad I did.
The biopsy was done some 3 weeks later, which seemed quick enough, but as I was away in Poland when called to hear the result I had a wait of about 6 weeks from biopsy to seeing the Urologist. St Patrick's Day and his holidays meant there was no sooner appointment. Not very satisfactory as I had more than enough time to surf the net and come up with all sorts of conclusions.
 
When the diagnosis was given I was shocked. I'm 67 but in good shape, I attend the gym 3 times a week, walk and play golf, how could this happen to me? My wife felt the earth had moved. We sat in shocked silence and listened to what the Urologist had to say. I would start Hormone Therapy immediately, have a CT scan and an MRI scan (I knew what this was for) and I would then see an Oncologist.
 
My over active mind was racing and with it I imagined the cancer speeding about my body aggressively. Wasn't that what he had called it? I had the CT scan within a week of seeing the Urologist, so far so good! I had the MRI Scan about a week later, then nothing for 3 weeks. I was getting a bit frantic for news.
 
Was the Cancer contained or had it gone walk about? I eventually phoned the Cancer Unit and found out that I was referred to Dr X, the results of the scans had gone to the Urologist as the referring doctor and were then passed to the Oncologist and he had only just received them. Could this not be bypassed and things speeded up, as the waiting time to hear just how bad things are is surely the worst of times.
 
I met Dr X some 3 weeks after the last scan. From hearing the cancer diagnosis to meeting the man who was going to do something for me had taken 6 weeks and during this time I didn't know how bad things were, so when Dr. X told us that the scans had shown no cancer outside the prostate I was overjoyed. I was told that the scans were clear and that the cancer was within the prostrate. Things were looking better!
 
What next? I was told that I'd continue the Hormone Therapy for about two and a half years (at least he expected me to be about then) and that I would be given about seven and a half weeks radiotherapy which would start in around 12 weeks. 
 
There were lots more positive stuff from Dr X including a 50%-60% chance of cure, so I enquired about having a holiday before starting radiotherapy and was told this was a good idea. I then discovered that Travel Insurance, with cancer treatment pending, can be somewhat expensive, and calling with the Macmillan Cancer Charity for help produced Insure Blue who did it at reasonable cost. Things were looking up. We had a good Holiday in the Sun and settled down to wait for the start of radiotherapy, while enjoying each day of a British Summer.
 
The Radiotherapy is now complete. I had few side affects and my golfing partners are considering a dose as my game took off during treatment. Can it last? As I write I am scheduled to see Dr X next week for a review. I will take along the results of a PSA test for comparison. At the start of my treatment my biopsy showed all but one sample reading over 9. My PSA was reading 0.6 on completion of radiotherapy, and may now be Zero.
 
So the Titanic may have struck the Ice Berg, but she hasn't sunk.  Damage control is in place and all hands are manning the pumps. If it works she will make it to Dry Dock and go on to complete many more voyages.