My surgeon, The Genius, said it like we’d won the pub meat raffle.
“The tests are back, and we’re sure we’ve got it all.” His voice was pleased, but measured. The tray of t-bones thanks.
I was in my hospital bed, enjoying the lingering effects of the morphine. Minus a cancerous prostate.
What do you say to someone who may have just saved your life? It is a moment in time. Surely worthy of a man’s greatest speech.
Or not. I came up with two slurred words. “Thanks Doc”.
He didn’t seem to mind. Everything had gone perfectly. Text-book surgery, he called it. Just what a patient wants to hear.
It’s hard to describe the relief. Fears and doubts, extinguished in a single sentence. Light overcomes dark. Success, I have no doubt, from all those positive vibes.
Later, as The Genius was off saving someone else, I reflected on the love that has been directed my way. Strange in a way, that it took cancer to make me fully appreciate that.
In the days before surgery, I received messages from such a varied bunch. Family and friends. Media colleagues from today, and decades ago. Old school buddies. Footy mates. Racing folk. And you, dear readers of this blog.
A few went above and beyond. The precious gift of passing on strength I didn’t possess. Support and reassurance from the heart. It let me enter that operating theatre, as positive as I had been in the months before. I’ll never forget that.
After a few days of being looked after by a wonderful medical team, I left hospital. With a catheter attached to me. This is a device inserted where things should never be inserted.
It must have originated as a military weapon of torture. How it came to be part of the medical world I have no idea. But it did the job. It came out after a week, and I would have gladly given the nurse responsible a new car for her gentle efforts.
Now, I’m resting up. And yes, there are challenges ahead. A blood test in a few weeks will tell me whether the cancer has spread. The Genius is confident that won’t be the case. So am I. In fact, I’ve called the result of this race before they hit the post.
To everyone, thank you. I asked for help to kick cancer’s butt, and you gave it to me.
Others are still in the fight. I think of them daily. Some are not so fortunate. A great mate lost his mum, just days after I was released from hospital. So unfair.
The mission now is to help others. If you’re a bloke over 40, get your prostate checked. Yes, 40. If you’re the partner of a bloke over 40, make him get his prostate checked. And don’t take no for an answer.
Life is a raffle. I’m confident I’ve won this time. If your turn comes, I want the same result for you.