Specialising in the human experience of Living with prostate cancer – warts and all

A personal Introduction to Greg’s Apprentice

with 4 comments

Lee Gallagher – our new Contributor

I ask myself where do I begin this post as I am totally new to all of this but I guess the basics are the place to begin and then a summary of the events that brought me here as explanation of why I am posting here on Greg’s site.

My name is Lee Gallagher I am 64 years of age until 22nd September when it will tick around one more time.   I was born in Sydney but have lived in Queensland since 1972 after discharge from the Army where I was a mine dog handler in the Engineer Corp.   My wife Lynette and I chose to live here by the beach in a small community called Hay Point situated between Mackay and Sarina.

For the past 20 years I was employed as a VTS officer (Vessel Traffic Service) scheduling, monitoring and communicating with all the large bulk carriers and tankers arriving and departing the ports of Hay Point and Mackay.   A bit like air traffic control for shipping only slower. My wife and I have enjoyed many years of sailing up and down the Queensland coast, fishing and diving.   We also enjoy fossicking and gold detecting when we can get away. We have a son and a daughter who have supplied us with 6 grandsons and one granddaughter.   And that should just about round out the basics so I will move on to what brought me to this site.

Toward the end of January this year I suddenly started to have severe urinary problems which sent me to my GP who in turn did some blood tests and sent me on to the urologist.  It is an interesting fact that my PSA reading in January was only 4.4. (6.5 just prior to biopsy).   The nice urologist performed a DRE and set me up for a biopsy the results of which I received on the 5th March 2012.   I was expecting to be told that I had the popular old mans disease BPH which is not cancerous so I was mortified to be advised I had an aggressive cancer with Gleason score 9 (4+5).

Upon receiving a full copy of the biopsy report from the urologist I was even more concerned to learn that out of 18 core samples taken in six segments of the prostate all 18 core samples returned positive to Gleason 9 of between 90% and 100% cancerous tissue in each core segment.   The report stated that vascular lymph invasion was present as well as perineural invasion, to my uneducated mind I could see this was not good news.   Even though I was at first emotional and shattered by this news my wife and I decided that we would just have to face this as it is the cards we had been dealt, you just can’t will it all away toss your hand in nor ignore it, we just have to get on with it, go forward and  so began a fast learning curve for both of us.

I was sent for CT scans, lung X-rays, and a bone scan and all of these came back clear of metastases so my urologist has graded this tumour as a T3 locally advanced cancer meaning that it is likely the cancer has spread outside the prostate but only to the local areas and organs.   Surgery is not an option but ADT (hormone therapy) and radiation therapy is … but more on this in a later blog.

In our searches on the web I was able to receive all manner of technical information on this cancer but as I searched and searched gathering technical information I slowly started to look for more personal information.   How does this thing affect a persons life?  Who is out there having put up with all the illness events, the mental toing and froing?   How are these people dealing with the effects of this cancer?   I was searching for a real life mentor who could truthfully tell me what to expect as I began my trek down the track. (experience is invaluable).   Greg once said that he did not know how to die what a great truth that statement is who among us does know?   But here I am straying from my post. SOoooooo I started looking for more personal stuff and came across Greg’s Legacy and to my delight it was exactly what I had been searching for and I have to offer Greg my heartfelt gratitude for this stuff he has shared with us all.

One thing has led to another with me suddenly finding Greg’s site late in the scheme of things with Greg being four years down the track.   I sent a reply to Greg on one early morning as an answer to his question “Do you have or do you know anyone with prostate cancer” – and suddenly we two were having nightly conversations on certain subjects from poetry to cancer carers, some of these conversations may make it into full blown posts at a later time.   Greg finally asked me if I would consider coming on board to tell my story and continue the role for others coming behind and there will be many.

I was honoured to be asked as I was all new to this and I still feel like a fraud as in some ways I suspect I have not fully accepted my diagnosis.   I have read and re-read it and have again written it here, and I have to stop and insist to myself that, Yes Lee old mate, you have this freakin cancer and it is real, and it is advanced, AND IT IS NOT GOING AWAY ON IT”S OWN.   I took a few days to give Greg an answer as I needed time to accept and commit to this venture.   So there you have it.   I apologise to anyone who I have bored, I will try to be briefer in the future.   Looking forward to posting some stuff that someone down the track may think is helpful and I hope I do Greg proud in the way he sees this site to continue.   Thanks Mate

Catch you all again soon

Lee /aka Popeye

Written by Lee

5 May 2012 at 10:27 pm

4 Responses

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  1. The Anchor Holds

    I have journeyed
    Through the long, dark night
    Out on the open sea
    By faith alone
    Sight unknown
    And yet His eyes were watching me

    The anchor holds
    Though the ship is battered
    The anchor holds
    Though the sails are torn
    I have fallen on my knees
    As I faced the raging seas
    The anchor holds
    In spite of the storm

    I have been young
    But I am older now
    And there has been beauty
    That these eyes have seen
    But it was in the night
    Through the storms of my life
    Oh, thats where God proved
    His love to me


    6 May 2012 at 7:12 am

    • Alison: I loved it thank you for the poem I am a soft touch for this kind of stuff.



      8 May 2012 at 8:58 pm

  2. Hey Lee, remember unless you are a solo yachtsman the journey you travel is never lonely, please know that you have a bevy of travelers along with you as you face this journey… with love

    lorraine Bate

    10 May 2012 at 10:16 am

    • Lorraine: Nice to see you here and please come on board there is plenty of room on this ship and many family and friends as crew. I am thankfull.


      12 May 2012 at 10:12 pm

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