I was in full time employment and thought myself to be in very good health. I celebrated my 60th birthday in summer 2018, and we had a big party and it was a very good night; everybody had a great time. But in the background there was a bit of an issue that I hadn’t spoken to many people about: I was going to the toilet a bit too often.
I asked [the GP] to pardon me for wasting his time, as I really did think there was nothing wrong. He checked my prostate but said he couldn’t tell anything for definite. He gave me a blood test; again, I nearly told him not to bother, but as I was there, I thought “don’t be so stupid” and went ahead with it.
I got a call the following Monday asking me to come in the next morning. By now the alarm bells were ringing loud and clear! They didn’t give me any information over the phone but when I turned up for my appointment they told me that my PSA level was 37.5; then, I knew I was in trouble.
I was called back in for an appointment at the Lingen Davies Centre, which I thought was just to sort out the plans for my treatment, so I was relaxed about it. Unfortunately, the doctors told me that the PRI had thrown a spanner in the works; it had shown up a small dot on my hip, and at that point they didn’t know what it was, so they sent me up to the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital in Gobowen. I had another MRI, CT Scan and bone biopsy.
I was put on chemotherapy, which I’m starting today. Dr Srihari tells me I may have five or six years if I take all the treatment. I told him that Bill Turnbull’s consultants have told him they’ll get him to 80 so he needs to do better than 65 for me!
I had a couple of pints last time we watched the football and I was alright, but that was the last time I had a drink at all; I’m mainly keeping off it for now. I get a bit lost with the days as I’m not working; I have been going in for staff meetings just to keep in touch with everyone and it keeps it open for me to go back if I want to. At the moment I don’t know if I will; but it’s strange letting go. Even if it wasn’t for the cancer, retiring would be a big thing. I’ve been working since I was 14, and nobody, on their death bed, says they wish they’d spent more time working.
The other day I was trying to paint but I was too anxious to sit down, never mind paint. It’s an odd prognosis, being told you’ve got five or six years left. I’m grateful it’s that long, but you know you’re going to die, but at the same time you’ve got time to do lots of things. Part of my head thinks I could have had this for a few years and I haven’t felt a thing, so what’s going to change? Having treatment, it’s bound to be better. I’m looking forward to the future, and the anxiety has gone.
19th November 2018 – Alun is sat with his hands in a bowl of water to help his veins open up to receive the chemotherapy drip. “I’m feeling good; I’ve gone back to work as the time was dragging a bit – for a bloke who’s been on the sick I’ve never been so busy! I’ve been helping out at my local church with Meals on Wheels. It’s an important service and really helps people; some of them are really lonely. I’m going to my daughter’s for Christmas, but I’m working in the evening – I don’t mind working and they’ll be playing on the Xbox anyway!
I’ve been doing a lot of fundraising – it makes you realise that people are so kind and they do want to help. There’s just been an article in the Powys County Times about prostate cancer; it’s so important to get the message out. You’re not quite so cocky when it happens to you – I wish somebody had told me more about it.
Sometimes I find myself crying but that’s nature’s way of helping you cope with what’s going on. Life changes, doesn’t it? You see how nice and kind people are and start to see the best in everybody. You deal with what you’re given.
Very sadly, Alun passed away in December 2021.