Sunday, July 28, 2013

But What Have I Been Doing?

You will remember... or perhaps see a couple of posts ago in this blog... that I made a very public New Year's resolution this year, but that was before I was diagnosed.  So, let's try a mid-year report.

1)  I said I'd write a publishable novel.  I'm about halfway through the first draft.  I went on the course I mentioned and to the conference as well.  As I suspected, the advice was "keep writing".  I have the ideas, I write well, and I need to just keep on in the hope of making a full-length piece of fiction.  RAG rating = Amber.

2)  I said I'd do more than four gigs this year.  I've done two, have one booked in September and a possible in August.  All that's left after that is to arrange a Christmas gig at the Thomas Guy Club (if the radiotherapy allows it).  RAG rating = Green (more or less).

3)  I said I'd record an album.  I was unable to complete a project to add toplines for a Norwegian House producer.  Similarly I had to drop out from rehearsing with a new band (known as the band of Malcontents) but I now have the agreement of John Giltrow (guitars) a fellow member of the Sweet Smelling Swampies and Dave Paton (bass), like John, a member of the Pennebakers to help me out. (By the way, Dave is not the same David Paton who was in the Bay City Rollers, honest.  So that gets an RAG rating of Amber more or less but shading toward the red.

4)  Finally, I said I'd learn Polish.  I haven't started.  I doubt it will happen but one of my oncologists, Kasia Owczarczyk is Polish so I wouldn't necessarily rule it out.  I'm still going to give it a RAG rating of Red though.

So... there's how I'm doing.  I'll do my best to keep you posted.


It is now five months since I have posted on this blog.  That was remiss of me.  I make no excuse, but I do note, in mitigation that I was diagnosed this year with advanced prostate cancer.

Normally, prostate cancer is slow growing and men tend to die with it, not on it.  Mine wasn't like that.  A biopsy showed that 95% of my prostate was cancerous and the cancer was trying to spread via blood vessels and nerve pathways.

So... on the journey, I've learned some new names that are important such as Bicalutamide - which was the first drug they gave me as soon as I was diagnosed and staged.  This was needed before they could give me Goserelin as an implant every three months.  This will shrink the cancer before I have radiotherapy in October.

As a very young (first time I've been 'very young' for years) prostate cancer patient, I was judged as suitable for the ongoing Stampede clinical trial.  I was randomised to the arm using Abiraterone before metastasis and indeed before the cancer itself becomes 'castration resistant'.  Because Abiraterone prevents the body from producing naturally occurring steroids,  I also have to take Prednisolone.

Despite all of these drugs I am surprisingly fit.  My weight has slipped below 20 stones (280lbs or 127Kg) for the first time in years, this despite a tendency of Prednisolone to cause bloating.  I feel blessed.

For all this though, the literature suggests a ten-year survival rate of about 60%. So, I need to get off my ass and stay off my ass to make sure the stuff I need to do gets done.