Well, here we are at the start of what I've been told is Prostate Awareness Month. After the experience that I described at http://budleighbrewsterunited.blogspot.com/2009/12/dealing-with-some-old-chestnuts.html I was beginning to wonder how aware one can be of something that isn't there.
But then a Budleigh friend who'd learnt what I'd been through just over a year ago shocked me by saying he'd soon be following in my footsteps. Except that he wasn't sure if I'd done the right thing.
I hadn't actually been aware that this month was special until we were told the news by the guest speaker at my local Prostate Support Association meeting last week. Tricia Heard is the Area Chair for East Devon Macmillan Cancer Support. In fact she told us that it's also Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, which was news for my friend Annie, who also began to wonder about how aware one can be...
But that's getting a bit too complicated. Let's stick to my prostate for the sake of my Budleigh friend, a fit-looking 70-year-old. Or rather, to its absence.
All I could really tell him is that in spite of all the annoying side-effects which I seem, unluckily, to have been suffering for what the doctors say is rather too long, I can't say that I regret the decision I made to go for surgery. Cancer's a spooky thing, and cutting out what I felt was a nasty piece of dry rot hidden away in a rather inaccessible part of the body seemed to me to be the surest way of eliminating the disease.
But of course other prostate cancer sufferers might feel like offering my Budleigh friend completely different advice.
In spite of my prostate's absence I'm certain to feel aware of it now, if only because of Macmillan. But mostly because I feel so sorry for people who have to make their own decision about the best treatment to follow when told that their blood test may indicate that a crossroads has been reached. Especially as I've been told that many doctors think that 70 is the cut-off point beyond which surgery should not be offered.
Anyway, the point of this post at the start of what is surely a special month for us men is to repeat what Tricia Heard told us. That Macmillan Cancer Support is there to offer advice, information and help of all kinds, and not just to provide nurses at the dreaded end. Which I hope will not come for many many years yet.
Macmillan Cancer Support is at http://www.macmillan.org.uk/
The North & East Devon Prostate Support Association is at http://www.nedpsa.org.uk/