The Mental Challenges of Discovery

Updated: Nov 23, 2020

I remember the day I passed blood whilst peeing. It was Wednesday the 19th of April in 2015. The day after a boozy bash at The Embankment, a boutique Hotel Restaurant in Bedford following a sales meeting. It was about three weeks before my 60th Birthday.

There wasn’t a lot of blood, there was no gushing, not even a dribble, just a couple of spots; but it was blood and of that I was pretty sure although trying to get close enough to the urinal to view such a thing had it’s visual and olfactory challenges along with the embarrassment factor of a crowded toilet. “Ha, ha . . what’s the matter mate, lost your contact lens?” The slurred comment from number 2 urinal next to me is something else I won’t forget in a hurry.

I didn’t go to the doctor for three months following that day for I had convinced myself that there was such an insignificant amount of the red stuff that there couldn’t possibly be anything wrong with MY Prostate. Arriving home, I didn’t tell my wife, which was unusual as I discuss and share most things with her. In fact, from that point on I did not tell anybody not even my mates in a blokey, rugby playing, hale and hearty kind of way. I just put it to the back of my very silly mind and got on with life. or so I thought as speaking to my wife Maria some months later she told me what a total "moody arse" I had been during that time.

I do a lot of road cycling, in fact I have mentioned in previous posts in fiftyfiveUP just how much of a passion it is, so me riding a minimum of 170 km a week on average is normal. However, those kind of miles are not only hard on legs and lungs but can be brutal on the backside, and in particular the PERINEUM which is the space between your anus and scrotum. So it was, later in the same year of the aforementioned “Blood Spot Incident,” I endured a horrible pain between my legs which got gradually worse over 3 or 4 days. I put it down to my new bike saddle to begin with as the pain had started a couple of hours after a pretty tough 80 km ride. However at the end of a week of torture where I found it impossible to discern whether the pain was in my testicles or up my rear end, I decided to go to the doctor as this malady was really buggering up my training. However, I couldn’t get an appointment to see a GP for three days in which time I had worried myself sick with Doctor Google confirming that I could indeed have Prostate Cancer such were my symptoms. Christ, I thought, if only I had gone and seen somebody when I first had passed the blood back in April I could have saved all this bloody worry.


For me personally, having your bloke parts examined by a man doctor who you have known for a while and who has seen your bits before isn't great but hey, it is just something that you have to take in your stride. However, and you just couldn't make this stuff up, when I did eventually get an appointment I was told by Rachel the receptionist and friend of mine that my GP had left to go to another practice a couple of months prior, and guess what, yep you've got it in one, I would have a new doctor. Enter Susan Bishop MRCGP stage left. Now having read all there was to know about Prostate issues I was fully aware that we were fast approaching "finger up the bum time;" and I was being served notice that at some point, the sound of rubber surgical clove snapping against wrist was going to be a significant part of my introduction to Ms Bishop. Undeterred I set up a meeting.

Susan hadn't much of a sense of humour. My nervous, trying to hide my embarrassment, attempt at a joke didn't really resonate, and following a brief explanation of what she was about to do, she had my trouser and pants off and swiftly did it. From disrobing to middle-finger-insertion to middle-finger-extraction took about 30 seconds. "So what do you think?" I asked slightly nervously, standing and pulling my pants up in one movement, and then realising in horror that she may have thought I was trying to crack some kind of 'Todger' related joke I blustered, "My Prostate, what are your thoughts. . . . .? "


Diagnosis

Doctor Susan Bishop's thoughts were indeed great thoughts leaving me elated with the news that my Prostate was not enlarged. Having done a urine test she didn't think there was a serious issue and told me that in her mind PROSTATITIS was probably the culprit. However, before she gave me the all clear she took some blood to send off to the lab for a PSA test. What followed was more time at work worrying and awaiting for the results. Fortunately, It did turn out to be Prostatitis for which I was prescribed Antibiotics and told in no uncertain terms to take time off the bike.

I had Prostatitis again a couple of years ago. Apparently my physiology has a propensity for such a disorder. Once again, as a precaution I had to have a finger up my bum, but Susan and I are better acquainted now, so all is pretty cool.

Self-analysis is such a difficult thing isn’t it? I have always thought of myself as such a level headed, sensible chap who can take whatever is thrown at me, where I shake my head and box on when confronted with difficult and challenging situations. For God’s sake, I supported Prostate Cancer UK, I wore the badge, I shared the pamphlet information with guys I knew and yet I had chosen to ignore the very basic of warnings. “If you get blood in your pee, go and see your GP.” I mean, it's a rhyme, it's pretty easy to remember!

To this day, I haven't told Maria or anybody else about the blood spots back in 2015 that started me thinking about all things prostate. In truth I know it has been a case of not wanting to worry her. I have always been an advocate of "It isn't worth talking or worrying about until there is really something to worry about." However, whilst I genuinely did not want to worry her or my daughter, I also have to recognise that on finding blood in my pee all those months ago the reality was that I was scared that I may have cancer and ran away from the situation burying my head in the proverbial sand.

The point I am attempting to make is a pretty simple one. I worried myself sick for months and tried to put a brave face on for the benefit of others. It doesn't work because your immediate family, if you are lucky enough to still have them around you, know you better than you know yourself. From April through to July, without really knowing it, I made my family's life pretty miserable without any explanation. I should have gone to the Surgery sooner, it would have saved so much upset, it would have been done, I would have known what was what, and in a worse case scenario treatment could have started immediately.

Never wait, don't think it is all about you, don't think you are wasting the NHS's time and get yourself checked as soon as you possible can!

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