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UKArchive ID: 35721

The Cancer Diary
by mikeverdi
Originally published on November 2, 2015 in Non-Fiction        


I was asked to write about cancer, Okay I said…. I know a bit about that.


Picking at the running sore of my resentments
I noticed the scab healing, closing over the pit….
where my madness dwelt.
I felt the need to shake off the shackles,
escape the tyranny of anguish;
light again a beacon of hope.
I’ve been chained to the edge of insanity for too long.
I need to write.
Mikeverdi

The Cancer Diary
2006- 2015
It’s been nearly ten years since that first feeling, the ‘somethings wrong’ one.
Not anything I could forget. I’d gone down to my doctors to ask for an MOT, a health check. Having always been fit, I knew I was not right, not just I was older, more than that.

‘Anything specific ‘she said
‘Well I’m peeing a lot more at night… maybe check my prostate’
‘Errr… well I can give you a blood test, should get the results in a week or so’
I don’t want to wait that long, can you just feel and see if it’s enlarged’
(I’d been reading about it).
‘No…I can’t do that, you will have to make an appointment with another doctor, a male one’
‘You’re not serious, you’re my doctor, and I’m asking you to do it, I’ll get my wife to sit with us if you want?’
Sorry, I’m not prepared to do that, you need to make another appointment’.

I left the surgery and never went back.

It took about three months to get set up in another Well Man Clinique, another doctor, this time a male one.
I turned up for my first visit, spoke about my problem at the other surgery, he looked at me and said ‘I can do this now if you want’. I wanted… he put on a glove and did the nasty. When he finished he looked at me and said… there is an enlargement, I’m going to take a blood test and have it processed ASAP. It wasn’t the shock it should have been, as I said, you know your own body, and something was wrong. It was however when the resentment started, that fucking woman could have killed me. Little did I know how close this would come to being the truth.

Twenty four hours later I returned from a trip into town to find my Doctor had been to our house looking for me, I was to phone him on my return as a matter of urgency, I did.
He told me not to panic, but it would seem I had advanced cancer of the prostate. He’d booked an appointment for tests and biopsy at the hospital the following day. This was getting scary.

This all took place in late November 2006. The biopsy was carried out by a little Italian doctor with a large grin and a great sense of humour. While inserting the dildo shaped probe in my backside, he was playing and singing along to Opera. After this interlude, I understood I could never be gay.

We had the results a couple of days later, I did have advanced prostate cancer. I asked if I would be buying a Christmas tree this year, nobody laughed.
More tests were arraigned, and talks followed with various consultants. Eventually I was advised to have radio therapy starting in a few weeks, after tablets were used to lower my testosterone (the cancer feeds on it).

On December 7th I was to attend the hospital for the day, to have several scans and further blood tests, it would take most of the day. It was my 60th birthday.
I’d joined the club no one wanted to be a member of. It’s a life time membership even when you win. To paraphrase the Eagles…’you can check out any time you want, but you can never leave’.
Those who read this and have joined the club will understand instantly. The fear never leaves you.

This was the start of my cancer journey, much was to follow that would test the resolve of both myself and my family. The one thing I promised ….I would never give in.

Part One
Captains Log- Star Date October 2006

I had been working as an Estate agent for about 18 months, but it didn’t work out, I fell out with the owners and resigned. As I looked around for other work, sadly, it was the cancer that arrived. The struggle to come to terms with my situation took a couple of months, during this time I was unemployed.

I was told to sign on at the job centre, claim unemployment benefit, sickness benefit, all kinds of help was apparently on offer for those of us with cancer. I never was able to claim a thing, in the end I gave up trying. There was always a reason I could never get to the bottom of, the only one for sure, was my wife worked. Time to get my head out of my arse, find a job before we went under.

A friend told me of a man with an Estate Agency that was going nowhere, needed someone to turn it around, I had a reputation as a man who could do that. After an interview I got the job. I confessed that I was undergoing cancer treatment, he asked if I could still do the job, I said yes, fire me if I can’t. He laughed and said go for it, we had a deal.

It was the kick up the backside I needed. In February 2007 I started Radio Therapy, it wasn’t that bad, just made me really tired. I arraigned to have it after four each day, it went on for seven weeks. I always tried to go back to work after, just to end the day. If I’m honest I wasn’t up to much by then. I have the attitude… when you’re in charge you have to show you’re in charge. I‘d only just started training staff, they needed to be able to trust me.

Life at home improved dramatically once I was back at work, I found the will to live again. We started to smile again, make plans. I was earning money so pubs and restaurants became available. Friends noticed the difference, things were looking better. It took me six months but that’s what I did. The office was back in profit, and I opened another two for him.

Christmas came and went in a blur, I threw myself into the job, it was a way of dealing with stuff, the whole family was in turmoil, I had always been the strength, the rock…invulnerable.
At the end of my treatment it was ‘wait and see time’ I continued to take the tablets and have blood tests to check my PSA level. There are no guarantees with any of these things, sometimes they work, and sometimes they don’t.

Conversations with consultants, the waiting for results, friends offering well-meaning advice, it drains you. You try to be positive, hold onto hope like a shield, let me tell you …it’s not easy.
Conversations could go like this:

Should I be worried doctor?

Don’t worry Mike…I’ll tell you when to worry…

I wonder if having to say the same words
day after day sucks the hope out of them.

Oh…. that’s good Doctor, I feel better already.

The feeling of contradiction,
I wasn’t worried until you said that…
I had hope to hang onto.

How long will I have to wait…before I worry?

The hesitation says it all.

Unfortunately that’s not something we can be certain of.

Bugger…

I see…you don’t know…so it could be tomorrow?
May as well start worrying today then…
get some practice in.

Nothing will happen that fast Mike.

Really?

See you in three months then Mike.

Okay Doctor…

Is that a promise?

It wasn’t all bad, life still had to go on. Previous to this we had been used to several holidays a year, this wasn’t possible with what was happening, we made do with visiting friends and country pubs, after all we were in a beautiful part of the country. It was winter, so beaches were for walks, rather than swimming or surfing. That was okay, on a crisp winters morning its great fun walking the cliffs of the South West Coastal Path.

This account of my life with cancer is to show that getting it isn’t always the certain end that some experience. I have lived with the knowledge that I have cancer for nearly ten years, several times I have been given wrong information, told it had gone twice. You just have to remain optimistic…and live on hope. Many give in too soon, can’t do the time and treatment. I made the decision after seeing a friend give up, that I was not ready to die, I would do whatever they told me …except die. I’m still fighting.

To be continued….


© mikeverdi (Mikeverdi on OLD UKA)

UKArchive ID: 35721
Archived comments for The Cancer Diary


Mikeverdi on 02-11-2015
The Cancer Diary
Thanks to whoever for the Nomination and the Nib. I will try and live up the the honour if I post more. The plan was to try and offer an alternative view on life with the enemy. Many will have read my auto, and know a bit already HaHa!

Mike

Author’s Reply:


Bozzz on 03-11-2015
The Cancer Diary
Mike, this was torture by the NHS, Sadly all too

common. Only a strong-willed person like yourself

could have survived and still remain hopeful. And now

despite the awful treatment you are having to suffer

right now, to come out writing the story, one can only

marvel at your tenacity. That is one thing, but to write

as well as you do in the circumstances, is another

– and gain a nib – triple congratulations my friend.

Yours aye, David

Author’s Reply:
Thanks David, good of you to take the time to read and comment. I try and take the knocks, hard at times, but I can't give in. It was suggested I do this, I will try. 😊

Mike


ifyouplease on 03-11-2015
The Cancer Diary
you're strong, cancer is in big trouble. 😉

Author’s Reply:
Thanks so much, I'm a fighter by nature 😀

Mike


Andrea on 04-11-2015
The Cancer Diary
Well, I don't know who asked you to write about your Big C experience, but it was a bloody good idea!

I found it quite fascinating, not to mention entertaining (if one can call such an experience 'entertaining') – what an effing stupid, irresponsible bitch that female doc was – she'd have got a mouthful from me, I can tell you!

Stay strong – you can do it! Well, look at me. On second thoughts, perhaps not, eh?

xx

Author’s Reply:
People with cancer are different, we look at life differently. When you first get it you are numbered with shock, the whole family is. I wanted to give something back to those who helped me, they asked me.

If you read any of my auto, you will know I don't take myself to seriously, but then you know that anyway, we've met😊😀😁😂

As to looking at you, hell, I've got bigger Tits that you and Evelyn put together. I'm doing playboy next month😂😂😂😂😂

MikeXxX


Pronto on 04-11-2015
The Cancer Diary
Wow Mike reading of your experience had me all at sea. I lost my dear brother-in-law to prostate cancer aged 64.

I was luckier than most folk. I had a kidney stone and when they had the camera up my pleasure pipe they spotted the beginnings of bladder cancer. It was a shock to be told but I responded to the treatment and have been clear for fifteen years now. You are handling it well my friend and long may you do so.

Author’s Reply:
Sorry if I brought back sad memories mate. Fantastic that they caught you early, bloody brilliant 😃

It's a bit of a bugger going through all this shit, but the alternative is not fun either HaHa!

Mike


sweetwater on 04-11-2015
The Cancer Diary
Your opening poem is a stunner, perfect for the words to come, which I found inspiring, full of humour and optimism as are all your wonderfully written experiences. There is little that I can add to what has already been said so I will join with everyone and say stay strong, keep your optimism, and humour with you and keep writing. Sue xxxx

Author’s Reply:
That's the plan Sue, thanks for stopping by, so pleased you think I can still do it 😊😊

Mike xxx


Andrea on 04-11-2015
The Cancer Diary
Haha…what I meant by that (look at me) was, I had breast cancer 25 years ago – they gave me 5 years, and here I still am – so there's always hope!

x

PS. Hope it's the centrefold 🙂

Author’s Reply:
I knew that of course, your in the cancer club….Fucking Cancer. Hope, my favourite saying 😊 there's always hope.

Thanks Boss

Mike XxX


Gothicman on 04-11-2015
The Cancer Diary
A really harrowing ongoing experience, Mike. From your dramatic, well-expressed personal account of being confronted with this illness, that, even with enormous advances and high percentage of successes has retained a deeply-rooted feeling of doom, and I can imagine the panic feelings after receiving the fearful news, what at 59, wanting precise information and competent professional advice, and treatment to be set in as soon as possible!. Cancer being a growth, stop the bloody thing from increasing, cut, poison, or zap it! Of course, it's a natural reaction, even if its progress, like with healthy cells, slows up with ageing. I think your keeping its discovery and progress in close context with your ongoing life and job situation is very relevant too, keeps the surreal feeling anchored in reality, keeps it a human story. I admire your resilience and fortitude, and your fighting spirit, with all aggression awoken becoming a stubborn resolution to beat it. Good luck with this renewed fight, Mike, keeping this oversight over its history is therapeutic, gives a feeling of focus and control.

Trevor

Author’s Reply:
When your at the start, it's difficult to think strait. Feelings of despair, anger, total bewilderment, and why me? None of this goes away, you just find ways of dealing with it, or it will deal with you. I'm going to try to tell this story as best I can. Thanks for reading Trevor, and your kind words.

Mike


Supratik on 05-11-2015
The Cancer Diary
A splendid write! I will come back. Those who find humour in extreme situations are a class apart. Best. Supratik

Author’s Reply:
If you don't laugh, you may as well shoot yourself HaHaHa! Thanks for reading and commenting.

Mike


stormwolf on 06-11-2015
The Cancer Diary
Late getting here Mike but I can look at this on two levels. Firstly, the skill of writing which was excellent. It pulled the reader along , was poignant and at times funny as even terrible times can be. The second level was the pain and suffering you have endured. From reading this, I am sure the biggest distress was coping with the uncertainty and the waiting not to mention the hopes dashed again and again.

You and Lesley are lucky to have found one another. Life is so bloody unfair it just gets to me.

You are a huge soul who has weathered many storms…

I have no doubt but it IS also my prayer, that you are around for a long time yet.

Love you Mike

Alison xxx

Author’s Reply:
Going to try and stay around young Storm, you know me, a stubborn old bugger. Thanks for your kind words on the writing, it's you lot that made me improve😁

Mike

XxX