My sucessful fight against cancer
I was just a sole parent who was trying to be there for my five sons and my beautiful partner Michelle much like a fairytale. But it had its ups and downs which I just put it down to life itself making the best out of what you have.
In mid July 2005 I heard that two of the major killers of the male population in Australia were Bowel and Prostate Cancer for males over the age of 50 years and being 47 years old I decided to do something about it. So in late September 2005 I was able to secure a Endoscopy at Southport Hospital.
The operation showed up a small ulcer, which a change of diet would correct. Hearing the good news that all is clear I went into slack mode. I did not think about a Prostate exam until late February 2006.
I went to my regular doctor and she told me that in order to have a prostate exam I would have to have something wrong with me down there as I was too young to have a Prostate problem. So I went away and came back about two weeks later and told a big lie so I could have a Prostate exam.
A physical prostate exam by the General practitioner is a rectum exam where they stick a finger up one’s backside and feel for a lump where the prostate is supposed to be. What they are looking for is a sign of abnormality e.g. a lump where the prostate is.
During the exam, my doctor said that she could feel something down there but it was very small and just to be on the safe side sent me off for a blood test the same day. I was to report back to my doctor a week later for the results.
A week later I returned and although I was feeling fighting fit I had that deep feeling of fear. My fear started to compound when my doctor told me the worrying news. My P.S.A. (Prostate Specific Antigen – P.S.A. test used in screening for prostate cancer) level was at 2080 which meant that I had a prostate infection or something more serious.
So, for the time being my Doctor placed me on a course of anti-biotics hoping that the problem would disappear. Well, three weeks down the track I had another blood test and my P.S.A. level was 2870! I was referred to the radiologist for a C.T. scan.
It’s strange you know that we place our faith in doctors and yet they themselves are in the dark with the correct diagnosis of Prostate Cancer and a large portion of cancers and specific ailments. The reason that I say this is my doctor sent me off for a C.T. Scan. That is one of those X-rays that looks like a tunnel and dissects your body in a number of X-ray pictures as they search for the problem. I turned up for my X-ray and on that day the X-ray specialist explained to me that the best way to see if you have prostate problems is to have an Ultra Sound.
Surely my doctor should have known this. Just this conflict of interest between specialists, people that you place your trust in, sent my mind into depression. Well, I had the Ultra-Sound, which I presented to my doctor, but she could not read the Ultra-Sound properly. All she looked at was the report from the X-ray specialist, which said that I had a prostate that was 128grams in weight (the average Prostate is about the size of a walnut weighing about 26grams) and mine was almost 5 times the size of a healthy prostate.
During that visit to my doctor I was ordered to have another blood test, which I did. I returned 3 days later and my doctor told me the bad news not that I had Cancer of the Prostate but that my P.S.A. level had skyrocketed to 3630 and was out of control. She told me that she could not help me anymore, shook my hand and said “Sorry” and that I would be best suited to see a Urologist as they are the only one who could help me.
So, I did make a booking to see an Urologist at one of the Private Hospitals on the Gold Coast. This was hard for me, as through the Public system I would have waited 4 to 5 times longer than going to a Private Hospital. I got to see the Urologist the following week, which I though was great. But on my arrival I was amazed how many old men were at his practice. It was true what they said to me – that is, the doctor’s in my previous visits termed technically an Old Man’s Disease. All the men in the Urologist practice were no younger than 65 plus. They must have thought that I was the delivery boy. I finally got to see my Urologist and he was an over-confident man who spoke to me in simple language. He hadn’t even seen my Ultra-Sound pictures and had already diagnosed me with Prostate Cancer. His explanation was that he has seen over thousands people who had the same symptoms as me.