The first struggle will be with that stupid hospital gown.
Try as I might, I won’t be able to fasten it properly.
I’ll be the one with the rear section flapping merrily in the breeze. My pimply white bum on show for all to see.
In the scheme of things, it’s not my greatest problem. I have prostate cancer. And the time has almost arrived to go under the knife.
Some of you already know. Others may be surprised. And a few will be wondering why I’m telling you about it.
I’ve pondered that too. Keep it a secret, or put it out there?
If there’s one thing I’ve discovered since embarking on these scribblings, it’s that sharing usually helps. So be it. I’m enlisting you all to be part of the fight.
They found the first tumour late last year, during a routine procedure. A tiny one. Time was on my side.
Back then, it didn’t quite sink in. This was a disease for old blokes.
Everyone had an opinion. Get it out tomorrow. Do nothing. Wait a few years.
Those who mean the most to me became upset. A few offered comfort, by explaining that if you had to get any form of cancer, this was the one. They meant well. And it’s probably true. But somehow, when you have the tumour, it doesn’t help.
My surgeon is the most amazing of men. A gem. So when he decided on one more scan, just to make sure, I had no hesitation.
In the meantime, I got on with things. Did my best to push those dark, nasty thoughts aside. Did I tell you this was a disease for old blokes?
The second lot of results came back. I knew straight away, things were crook. Doc wasn’t smiling. I’m guessing he’s no poker player.
They’d found a second, more sinister blob. Hiding underneath. It’s unusual, apparently. He’d consulted other specialists that morning. All agreed this changed our game plan. The prostate needed to come out. Sooner rather than later.
For the first time, I actually felt like a cancer patient. No more waiting. At no stage had I entertained the idea that this thing might spread. Dark, nasty thoughts.
That’s when the fight began in earnest. I decided I needed to approach it as a battle. Physically and mentally, I had to prepare.
So began the fitness regime. Early morning walks. Gym work. I’m almost back to my playing weight. How ironic, that I feel healthier right now than I have in years.
I have loving, caring people around me. True friends. We’re a giant pool of positive. They’re refusing to accept anything but a successful outcome.
I’m off the grog. I’ll miss Stradbroke Day for the first time in years. And those wonderful racing lunches sprinkled around it. I’m sure the boys will avoid the temptation of ringing to tell me how much fun they’re having. For the first ten minutes, maybe.
If I get down, I think of friends who have done it much tougher. Just last week, a wonderful family I know lost a mother, and a wife. Another great man, who happens to be the father of a mate, is battling cancer for the second time. They’re operating on him the same day as me. It makes me realise I have nothing to complain about.
Alone, at night, I get scared. I wait for those positive forces to kick in. Mostly, they do. No time for negatives.
I hate this disease with every fibre of my being. I want it out. I refuse to accept that it will get the better of me.
There’s so much to do. The girls need me harping about the need to clean their bathroom. I must take more photos of them. And of the sunrise.
I have to pick a Melbourne Cup trifecta. I’m booked for a night picnic by the river. I’ve promised to visit the farm. So I can see someone’s special place. Holding hands.
I want you to get tested. That’s one of the reasons I’m writing this. I want my mates to hear the snap of rubber gloves behind them. You simply can’t put it off.
Forgive me if you don’t see anything on this page for a week or so. I’ll be busy, trying to sort out that bloody hospital gown.
Prostate cancer isn’t just a disease for old blokes. It can strike any of us. My plan is to be talking about it as an old bloke. Wish me luck.