If I’d known then what I know now

As I write this I’m having chemotherapy, I feel like crap and it’s 4 years tomorrow that I had my first biopsies.

I’d got noticeably ill at the start of 2012 with nothing that I would have thought was connected with my prostate – a six week bout of bronchitis, something I’d never had previously, followed by four weeks of diarrhoea. My GP sent me for blood tests and for some reason decided to tick the PSA box. Good job he did.

A lot has happened since then. Since late 2013 I’ve covered most of it in this blog but what happened before that date I’ve written about from memory.

I was referred to my local hospital around April 2012 as a possible cancer risk and was seen within 2 weeks. From that moment on things seemed to take forever and my first biopsies, TRUS biopsies on my prostate, did not take place until August 1st 2012. Two weeks later I got my first sepsis diagnosis, I’ve now had that three times, but the biopsy result was “no cancer found“. 

It took 19 months from the time I was referred by my GP for the hospital to finally confirm what I’d already known in my head for a few months, that I did indeed have cancer. The cancer was found after Template Biopsies, which seem to me to be far better and more reliable than the TRUS biopsies I’d had first time round 15 months earlier. They’re also more expensive and maybe that’s why I wasn’t offered them the first time.

During those 19 months I was told I was too young to have prostate cancer as it mostly affects older men. I was 58 when I got told my diagnosis and I’ve met men since who were diagnosed in their 40s. I was also told by one doctor “if it’s cancer, it’s only prostate cancer”. He’d obviously never had it. 

We’re all different, so I try not to give advice so much as to relate what prostate cancer has done to me and to my partner. As I look back over everything I think that what might have made all the difference in my case is to have known the signs and symptoms of prostate cancer.

I should then have had the balls to stand up to the doctors who did not take me seriously and been as pro-active then in my own healthcare as I am now. Of course, that’s not easy when you’re newly thrust into a system that has its way of doing things and one that you’ve had little to do with for most of your life. I’ve now learned.

I believe, although I could never prove it, that had I had better doctors at the start that the cancer would not have been given the chance to spread beyond my prostate and into my lymphatic system. It would then have been fully curable instead of just controllable and I’d now be looking at a potentially far longer life span than I actually do. 

MORE INFORMATION 

Prostate Cancer UK

Macmillan

Malecare (US based site)