Really it goes back to 2010, when I first had some water works problems. I went to the doctor who immediately decided to do a PSA test which came back as raised levels, so I was sent for a biopsy, within a matters of weeks.
I had another biopsy at that time, and an MRI scan; the MRI showed something suspicious, but the biopsy was clear, so again I was relieved. The urologists were not sufficiently happy with that though and referred me to Walsall for a more detailed biopsy under general anaesthetic. I had that at the beginning of 2018 which did show, at that stage, that there was cancer in the prostate, and a high Gleason score of 5 and 4 (Typical Gleason Scores range from 6-10. The higher the Gleason Score, the more likely that the cancer will grow and spread quickly. Scores of 6 or less describe cancer cells that look similar to normal cells and suggest that the cancer is likely to grow slowly). I was told that the Lingen Davies Cancer Centre were getting a ‘Guided Prostate Biopsy Machine’ (funded by Lingen Davies Cancer Fund) later in 2018 but that it would have taken them several months to get up to speed with equipment. If I’d had that equipment available to me 12 months earlier, it might have caught the cancer earlier. This obviously would have been a benefit to me, but the fact we now have it in Shropshire, I’m sure is a benefit to many other people.
I’ve coped with the radiotherapy very well. I didn’t have any side effects immediately, certainly not during or after my treatment. Everyone at the Lingen Davies Cancer Centre were very helpful. The care they took over measuring for the radiotherapy, was also extremely good, and gave me confidence they were targeting the right area. There’s been a few niggles since then, such as skin irritation, but I’ve been able to cope with that. The hormone therapy has given me a few hot flushes too.
During that time, I’ve remained fairly active…I was working full-time until 2017, when I was diagnosed, at which stage I had my own business. I closed my business and merged with a larger firm, and began working 3 days a week, which was my intention, having got to 70…to slow down and enjoy my free time. That suited me fine. I worked for 2 years doing this, apart from the break when I had radiotherapy, when I managed to fit in a couple of days, while I was having the treatment. Last year, I decided that I was getting more and more tired, probably from the hormone therapy and I was finding 3 days a week working, rather too much. So I did formally retire last August, at the age of 73. I was hoping to have more free time over the past 12 months, but that hasn’t happened due to lockdown.
I was provided with a bag of weights and bands to do the exercises. Kate has also posted videos online of what she does, so I’ve been able to continue doing exercises on a regular basis.
I knew Lingen Davies Cancer Fund existed, and I knew over the years it has raised money for the centre, but I didn’t know any more detail and I hadn’t had any personal experience of the services that had been supported and financed by Lingen Davies Cancer Fund. Certainly since my experience, and the treatment I had, I have felt very keen to support the charity.