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Welcome to Doodlecat, where we enjoy the pleasures of life (with a slight bias towards the outdoors). This page is regularly updated with news and views plus information about any additions or changes to the various parts of the site. It acts as Doodlecat’s Blog too, so the odd rant considered opinion may pop up from time to time.

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Personal Challenge

In recent months I’ve had a pretty uncomfortable time – recurring bouts of what I now suspect was prostatitis – a bacterial infection of the prostate. Pretty painful and it does restrict your life a tad. Anyway, the recurring condition led my GP to recommend further investigation (despite having had a negative blood test for prostate cancer in April).
So off to Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge. Lo and behold, after a series of tests, including kidney scans and all sorts, plus a ‘digital’ examination (sounds hi tec – means a finger up the bum) it was declared that I had a ‘nodule’ on the prostate gland that might well be cancerous.
Me: “I’ve just had a negative PSA test”.
Consultant: “Well, they pick up around 80%, but that means, of course, that 20% are not detected by the test”.
Me: “!!!!!!?”
Next is the biopsy – to see what is really going on. Ten or twelve samples plucked from the prostate by a needle gun – fired (you guessed it) right up the bum. To be fair, they do give an anaesthetic (by poking the needle up your bum, of course). The consultant then inserts an ultrasound probe which guides him to the target area. If you’re old enough to remember ‘The Golden Shot’ on ITV, you’ll get the idea.
“Bernie……the bolt”
Ouch!!!! (x 10) Actually, it wasn’t too bad. And peeing blood for the next week (even more alarming when you ejaculate) is par for the course, apparently.
Bottom line (geddit!) is that the following week I was told that, yes, I had cancer. It’s not the benign variety that most older fellas get, it’s a bit on the aggressive side.
“Here are your options – have a think and let us know which procedure you prefer”.
One of the options was ‘wait and see’ with monitoring of my PSA levels. As this had failed to show up the cancer in the first place, I discounted this immediately.
Next is radiotherapy. Problem is (especially as my prostate is not enlarged) it can damage the bladder and leave you slightly incontinent, and also the lower bowel and anus can be damaged. Oh, and the nerves that control erectile function can be damaged. Nice! And it takes 6 weeks of daily visits to the hospital for treatment. This seems to be the preferred option for older chaps – but what about me? Young, beautiful…..etc….
Basically, I wanted the unwelcome invader removed. In surgical matters I am much influenced by Sir Lancelot Spratt in the 'Doctor' films - "If in doubt - cut it out!".

So my final choice was radical prostatectomy by robotic keyhole surgery (it’s good to have your local hospital at the ‘cutting edge’ – ohhh, not sure I like that term!). Anyway, with luck, they will be able to spare the nerves and not leave me permanently incontinent and impotent.
I discussed my choice with my GP, who said “if I was in your position, that’s what I’d do”. After all the hospital discussions, where they are obliged to make sure that you know the downside of everything, it was good to hear a commonsense answer – even better as it coincided with my own opinion.
Had an MRI scan last week – and it seems local lymph nodes are affected, but it hasn’t gone elsewhere (like the bones) so I should be OK.
One unfortunate side effect is a shorter willie!!!! This is ‘cos they cut the urethra each side of the prostate, and the join it again – and I have been told that ‘ you may think that your penis has become shorter that usual’.
Me: “I always think that – and so does Miss W!”
Consultant: “Well, it won’t come as a surprise then”.
The other bugger is having a catheter and a wee bag strapped to my leg for two weeks after the op – and then learning to pee again….voluntarily.
Other than being sterile, possibly impotent, incontinent and having a truncated willie, I am told that I can look forward to a full and active life!
Well, whoopee.
But this brings me to the Challenge. I’m not sure exactly when all this medical stuff is taking place (during the next few weeks I am told – awaiting ‘phone call). Apparently it can take a while to fully recover. So, for me, the Challenge is a target. If I get on, and successfully complete the crossing, then it will prove to me, yes, I’m fully fit….
And I’ve got my life back.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

that is almost the funniest way a friend has told me what he has.
Just let me know if there is anything I can do.
Unfortunately I can not donate a couple of inches to be added while you are on the table as mine is already too short.
My thoughts and prayers are with you and Ms W.

October 19, 2008 at 9:30 PM  
Blogger Phil said...

Thanks for your good wishes, Darren.

I expect to be reasonably OK within six weeks of the operation - at least OK enough to get back onto the lower hills, which are the only kind we have around here of course!

Just hope they get me in quickly so that I am fully mobile for the New Year training regime with Mr Sloman (under the watchful eye of our formidable personal strainer, Miss Whiplash).

October 20, 2008 at 8:34 AM  
Blogger Roger B said...

A shorter willie!
This is a disaster that puts the credit crunch etc into perspective.
More seriously Phil keep your pecker up (oops, bad word choice)and I look forward to our paths crossing on the Challenge next year.

October 20, 2008 at 6:20 PM  
Blogger Mike Knipe said...

Best of luck with all this, Phil.
We'll see you in The Park (if we get places, that is...)- fully fit and robustly and horribly pink and healthy.

May all of your rectal examiners have a sense of rhythm...

October 20, 2008 at 10:03 PM  
Blogger Phreerunner said...

Your predicament brings back painful memories. We do hope you get the call imminently and that you are back under the cosh (or should that be the Whip) as soon as possible.
All Best wishes
Martin and Sue

October 20, 2008 at 10:52 PM  
Blogger Phil said...

Ah Roger
Miss W has done all the 'pecker' jokes. I won't repeat any here!

If I sense anything rhythmic, then I'm outa there!

See you for a drink or several in Montrose, chaps, if not before.

Good luck in the draw!

October 20, 2008 at 10:58 PM  
Blogger Phil said...

Hmmm...hope those memories aren't too painful, Martin!

You must have some influence with the fates though - I got a 'phone call from my consultant today (my birthday).

My operation is on Friday!

October 21, 2008 at 5:44 PM  
Blogger Roger B said...

Happy Birthday Phil

All the best for Friday

October 21, 2008 at 6:39 PM  
Blogger Phreerunner said...

Happy Birthday Phil
The worst bit was being unable to pee after the surgeon had 'investigated' (my surgeon chose to do that from the front, whereas yours chose the rear), and insertion of the catheter was somewhat excrutiating, though the relief was immense!
Talking of crutiating - the whole thing was far less painful and time consuming than the replacement of a cruciate ligament - though the mental strain of not really knowing what is going on with the prostate, and what will happen in the future, is much greater.
Best of luck for Friday.

October 21, 2008 at 10:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blimey Phil, it's starting to sound like there's a medical traffic jam happening around your nether regions.
Congrats on a superb post which brought home to me just what's going on, how they're going to stop it going on, and how many doctors it's going to take to change a nodule.
Please accept Steph and my very best wishes - we both expect to see you in Scotchland in May. You'll meet me on route somewhere, and Steph probably in Montrose, as by that time she should be nursing a two-and-a-half-month-old little 'un, and we'll be wetting its head (again) in the Park.
All the very, very best for Friday - we'll both be thinking of you and sending you spiritual good wishes - 40% proof spirit of course.

October 23, 2008 at 12:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good luck tomorrow Phil and quick recovery !

October 23, 2008 at 5:28 AM  
Blogger AktoMan said...

Best wishes - I'm still trying to comprehend it all.

October 27, 2008 at 1:33 PM  
Blogger Phil said...

I'm still trying to comprehend it all too!

BUT I'm back at home and Miss W has launched a training regime which started yesterday (a 500 yard walk to the post box) which she intends to continue to full match fitness by Christmas.


October 27, 2008 at 2:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is excellent news Phil!

Have you tried eating pork scratchings yet???


October 28, 2008 at 3:40 PM  
Blogger Phil said...

No, not yet David... I might get flashbacks!

October 29, 2008 at 12:06 PM  

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