Why is that the sun always seems to shine when we get the worst news?
Dad had been suffering from horrendous back pain for a few months. His GP had initially diagnosed a frozen shoulder and prescribed painkillers. The pain got worse and the painkillers weren’t touching it. I can count on one hand how many times I’ve seen my dad cry but I saw him crying with the pain in his back. His GP then thought it might be a slipped disc and Dad was sent to a specialist who ran some tests and on a beautiful summers day – we got the results.
I will never forget that day because it was also my 26th birthday.
I drove Mum and Dad to the hospital for the results. We were laughing and joking in the waiting room but in a short time it would all change and our family would never be the same again..
The word that we all dread.
“Some bad news I’m afraid.. it’s cancer!”
With the consultant’s words echoing in our ears we walked out into the corridor in a state of shock and disbelief.
Dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer and was referred to the relative consultant who decided to treat his cancer with hormones.
Unfortunately it was a case of ‘too little too late’ as the cancer was already spreading into his bones, which explained the back pain. And it was aggressive.
So aggressive that from diagnosis to death took just 6 months.
My dad was old school. He didn’t talk about illness. If he was aware of a problem with his waterworks in the early stages…he didn’t talk about it but I do remember him becoming extremely agitated one day when we were out in the car because he suddenly needed to wee. This was in the previous summer. In hindsight, the signs were there.
Prostate Cancer – The Facts
- Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK with over 40.000 men being diagnosed each year.
- It usually develops slowly.
- Symptoms often only become apparent when the prostate is large enough to affect the Urethra…at this point symptoms like an increased need to wee, straining while urinating and a feeling that the bladder hasn’t emptied properly.
These symptoms don’t necessarily mean it’s cancer – it can be due to other things like an enlarged prostate.
Prostate Cancer – The Causes
- Age – most cases are in men 50+.
- It’s more common in men of African descent.
- Men who have father’s or brothers with prostate cancer have a slightly higher risk.
- Men who exercise are at lower risk of developing it…not to mention other health problems!
- Diet – There is evidence to suggest that foods rich in calcium, burnt food, red meat, excessive alcohol and saturated fat may increase the risk of prostate cancer.
Dad was one of the unlucky ones. A combination of pissing about (no pun intended) with diagnosis’s and his old fashioned attitude towards his own health cut his life short at 58 years of age. By today’s standards…that’s not old.
Today is his birthday and he would have been 76 years old.
I often wonder what he would look like now..
The cancer aged him in the way that sickness ages people but he was destined never to reach old age and even now – 17 years later, it makes me feel incredibly sad to be without him.
He faced this bastard of a disease with the same outlook that he’d had all his life – “It’ll be OK”.
But it wasn’t going to be OK.
My dad was one of the nicest blokes you could hope to meet.
His eyes twinkled and he’d a full on belly laugh – it was infectious!
I loved his laugh…
I loved him.
C was reminiscing about his grandad the other day and said that he could remember his wonderful laugh. That’s a great thing to be remembered for isn’t it?
And my dad laughed a lot..
Even with cancer rampaging through his body.
It was his way of coping. It was his way of saying, “Sod you, Cancer!”
He took the disease on but he was never going to win the battle.
But cancer could only take his body because the spark, which was my Dad, remained until the end.
Sadly, my story is one of loss but yours doesn’t have to be.
I have written this post in the hope that it will help to spread awareness of this type of cancer.
Be cancer aware because it may save your life or the life of someone you love.
Thank you for reading.
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