GREG'S LEGACY

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

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Jack and Jill Cancer Tragedy

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Support From Friends and Family

Support From Friends and Family

The world of cancer can really kick you in the teeth at times, the trick is to be able to bounce back and move forward but sometimes it is more difficult to rise and come up smiling when it belts you below the belt. The following story is of events that have overtaken a married couple who are close friends of my wife and I. It took me some time to choose to publish these events as it is such an overwhelming personal ordeal they are dealing with. I wrestled with my thoughts on the moral justification in making their ordeal public and now I have done so in the hope others may be inspired by their story. In the following events I have used the names of Jack and Jill to protect their privacy and as I write I am still wondering at times if all this is not just a bad dream.

Jack and Jill are now in their late sixties. A few years ago Jill was diagnosed with bowel cancer and was at the time successfully treated with surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. A short time after Jill’s cancer treatment Jacks brother was also diagnosed with bowel cancer and he was also treated successfully with surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. With all the health and medical issues that had suddenly descended on them Jack and Jill decided to retire, buy a caravan and join the grey nomads touring Australia.

About the time they bought the van Jack fell off a trestle and broke his leg, down toward the ankle so the grand Australian tour departure was put on hold until his leg healed. Eventually they got underway but just a couple of thousand kilometers into their trip Jack and Jill found themselves stuck in Townsville as Jack had developed an infection in the bone where he had originally broken the leg. Townsville is where my wife and I met this pair and we became firm friends. Jacks infection was such that the leg was invaded by a medical steel structure from knee to ankle with rods descending into the leg at various places to deliver the antibiotics needed to the bone. Jack also was treated in the hyperbaric chamber for two months to try to assist the healing. Jack endured nearly twelve months of treatments to try to beat the bone infection without success.

Late last year the medical specialists and Jack started discussing amputation of the leg as the final solution and while these discussions were going on Jack had a colonoscopy which led to biopsies and he was then also diagnosed with bowel cancer. Now Jack and the surgeons had two problems to deal with and a decision was made to have both the amputation of the leg plus the bowel resection done at the same time (a 12 hour operation.) Both of these procedures were completed early in March and Jack is doing OK. He faces a lengthy rehabilitation period for his leg and prosthesis followed by perhaps radiation and extensive chemotherapy for the cancer.

The cruncher to all this came to a head recently when Jill revealed that she had been re-diagnosed with the return of her bowel cancer which had now spread extensively to her liver. The doctors informed her it was incurable and terminal, she could only expect her time left to be between 12 and 14 months. Now Jill had been informed of this some time ago but decided to keep it to herself until Jack had gone through his ordeal. That last sentence says more about the love and respect that one human can hold for a loved one than any explanation I could give. They have offered Jill some strong chemotherapy, not as a cure but to help prolong life long enough for both of them to return to their home once Jack is stabilised. I shake my head with despair for my friends and wonder how these sort of events can overtake good peoples lives.

With Love from Friends

With Love from Friends

I offer the following verse I composed for them and anyone else out there who might find some comfort in these words. It was inspired by the words of Gordon Lightfoots haunting ballad called “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” The lead line has haunted me for years “Does anyone know where the love of God goes when the waves turn the minutes to hours ?” Somehow the haunting returned and I built on it in my own words as the timing seemed just right for my friends.

Does Anyone Know Where The Love of God Goes?

Does anyone know where the love of God goes when a cancer turns your time left to hours?

In the dark and despair only faith can repair, what the verdict of cancer has soured.

But his love is still there in fond memories we share, with the love-ones we see that surround us.

The moments are there when the laughter rang out and the hugs and the kisses were about us.

The hard times and fears, the regrets and the tears, were all dealt with and left far behind us.

So does anyone know where the love of God goes? Well I think the answers not hidden.

Seek deep in your soul among your memories there and give thanks to what he has given.

Lee aka Popeye

My God Box Adventure

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My God Box

My God Box

Welcome back for the year 2015. I hope everyone enjoyed the festivities and I sincerely hope that the new year will bring health, prosperity and peace to the world. In this article I have decided to write about a subject dealing with spirituality. I have been inspired to do this by an event that happened accidentally toward the end of my treatment for the gross hematuria I was experiencing. When I was at my spiritual lowest point during my illness, full of despair and accepting that I could be reaching the end of my life, a friend came to me and suggested the following idea.

My friend suggested I create a “God Box.” The idea being that I acquire a small box of some type where I could write down on little slips of paper all my fears, anxieties, problems or prayers and deposit them into the box for God to look after. Once these fears were deposited I could then just let go of them knowing they were in the hands of a higher authority.

Now I have never been a pious religious person who was a regular churchgoer, but I always retained a sense of confirmation that there existed a God that was responsible for all creation. The “God Box” suggestion just captured my imagination and fell in line with my overall belief in a creator. I believe that everything in life happens for a reason, both good and bad. I also believe my life has been directed at certain times by someone other than me when events have caused me to travel in different directions than I thought possible. So the search for a suitable box began and my wife took exactly 2 hours to locate the perfect box in a local op shop for $2.00. ( A picture is included at the head of this article.)

I began depositing my little slips of paper containing my fears just weeks prior to the investigations that revealed the full extent of my serious condition and the surgical suggestion that could (and has done) saved my life. It was during this period that a volunteer chaplain visited me in hospital and seeing the “God Box” at the head of my bed asked me about it. After I told my story she was amazed and delighted and then commented by asking if I included any “Thank You” notes among the little pieces of paper I was depositing. It was then that I realised with embarrassment that my little notes were all one way with no such words of gratitude given by me, I fixed this issue straight away.

Readers can choose what they say or think about my story here but I can say for myself that my “God Box” came about as a suggestion from a friend during a dark period of my illness. This little box changed my life at the time and continues to do so. It gave me great comfort and hope while easing the fears, the stress and despondency I was feeling. From the time I accepted the concept of my little box and proceeded to deposit my little notes, my health outlook took a turn for the better. I believe that little box entered my life at just the right time and brought about changes that resulted in my successful surgery. It also reinvigorated my spiritual awareness.

Some Good Advice

Some Good Advice

I originally thought this was quite a unique idea that my friend suggested to me but I have since discovered the concept has been well-known and used for hundreds of years by many religious faiths. I have included a few links to web sites for readers who may be interested in further reading. I decided to write this article in the hope that the “God Box” idea might be of interest and give comfort to other chronically ill patients or their carers doing it tough out there. “Thank you God”

Further Reading

http://theuntoldstory.guru/2014/08/25-ways-to-use-prayer-boxes/

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/relationships/the-god-box-transferring-your-troubles-to-a-higher-authority/article4210039/

http://www.realsimple.com/work-life/family/relationships/inside-god-box

 

 

Regards

Lee aka Popeye

A Cancer Patient Caregiver Perspective

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You Are The The Wind Beneath My Wings

You Are The The Wind Beneath My Wings

In my course of seeking information on all aspects of prostate cancer and cancer in general, I have a list of favourite sites I visit daily to keep me up to date with the latest issues. I have just come away from one of these sites nearly in tears with one of the articles offered regarding a brief compendium from a spouse of a man. This article is one of the most powerful and revealing insights into what it means to be a loving partner and care giver to a spouse who has been diagnosed with this horrible disease.

I do not care if I am infringing on any copy write prohibitions by posting this article here on this site, as I think this information deserves a wider appreciation by readers. I apologise in advance if anyone may be offended, but I believe this is an important disclosure that uplifts the spirit on what it means to love someone and confirms the vows of:  “In sickness and health, for better or worse, until death do we part“. To often the role of the care giver in these situations is overlooked and they are left to battle their own demons in often miserable circumstances. So here is the letter that appeared on the web site “malecare advanced prostate cancer.”

http://advancedprostatecancer.net/

So True

So True

As I have said before, the true unsung heroes of our fight against advanced prostate cancer are our caretakers. Our caretakers are our saints, they help educate us, they advocate for us, they shield us and they make us as complete as we can possibly be. They improve our lives and help us get through the day with love and enjoyment.

Sadly, they do this for us at great personal costs. A caretaker posted the following on the advanced prostate cancer online support group. I thought that it was important for all of us, both prostate cancer survivor and caretaker. It talks of her frustrations, pain, her reality.

I attempted to read the link but the uro site wasn’t very friendly. That said, I could say that as a spouse I know more about prostate cancer than I ever wanted to know.

My husband is so overwhelmed by the medical jargon, poor explanations by previous oncologists (yes, we fired him) the confusing sounding names of medications, treatments and just about everything to do with his cancer. I do the research, find layman friendly articles and generally find myself explaining to him what is going on with his disease progression.

I have an advantage by being a nurse but yet to understand some of the information I too need a medical dictionary. It is overwhelming. I am not just the wife and support, but his advocate in wading through a confusing and scary disease that has no cure at this stage.

My husband doesn’t avoid his diagnosis, disease, treatment and projected outcomes but doesn’t want any doctor to give him time frames. He tells them to tell me. Luckily, we haven’t come to that. He talks openly about how he feels, what side effects he thinks he might be experiencing and he does read the brochures or booklets provided by the pharmaceutical companies. He is better about discussing his feelings, side effects and does ask questions when we see his oncologists.

We have been dealing with prostate cancer for 10 years. This month is the anniversary of his prostatectomy and he was clear for two years after that. His rising PSA began in 2006 and become hormone resistance in 2011. He had soft tissue mets initially followed by bone mets. He has taken Provenge, Zytiga and Xtandi

He depends on me, each step of the way, to explain the treatments, CT scans, lab reports and what it all means. I have been understanding of him, frustrated, sad and grieve for the loss of his energy and his sexuality.

I tell him when he needs to go talk to someone because he’s being an angry jerk. He tells me when he doesn’t want to know what I know medically or see on CT reports. I never explained the last one to him, only that his bone mets had progressed. He didn’t ask, I don’t volunteer.

I have never pushed or asked for our sexual relationship to resume because I am educated and know it won’t. Period. Hormones to suppress testosterone suppress libido and women need to know that. We have talked about it but it isn’t important. He is alive. There’s more to a relationship than sex.

I have this wonderful group for support and encouraged him to get involved but after years of a government job he swore after he retired at 60 to never have to log onto a computer daily again! He likes when I read him your posts.

I also have a group of women I am close with at the touch of a keyboard or phone and they provide a tremendous amount of support and we all stay on top of the new drugs and treatments available for our guys! We support each other when we are frustrated.

Maybe a study on how patients and their caregivers find and are given information so that they could understand would be a good one as well as how they cope day-to-day.

I admit I am stressed, anxious and recently I have been diagnosed with stress related hypertension, but I find my own outlets of talking to my “blue sisters” emailing them, Face Booking them, reading and responding to group posts and by Humor. Humor has always been my shield and I joke with my own doctor that I am fine and she will know when I’m not when they call her and tell her I have been picked up for marching in my own parade nude down Main Street!

Am I worried I won’t do a good job taking care of my husband when he can no longer care for himself? Absolutely, but I will do the best I can. I try to take care of myself and not think of the possibility that I will be alone, I have been alone before and I will survive. We all will be with each other.

I read, walk, paint and still work part-time and have a network of family and friends who are a great support.
I would like to read further studies if I could ever get the uro website to function!

I give virtual hugs, bright blessings and heartfelt thanks to all who post on this group, who live with the stress of this disease, the uncertainty and the pain. Pain both emotionally and physically. As a spouse, caregiver and advocate all I can say is Keep Up The Fight! Support PC research! Love each other! “

Take My Hand My Love

Take My Hand My Love

AMEN and

Thank you God

Lee aka Popeye

Christmas Greetings and Best Wishes to Everyone for 2014

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Seasons Greetings To All

Seasons Greetings To All

With the end of 2012 just about to flash by I thought I would end the year with this article and return again in mid January 2014. My health at the completion of 2012 is pretty OK with all blood tests looking good. It appears I am in remission and I give thanks for my brighter future. I have been told I will be able to stop the hormone therapy implants from March 2014 until further notice and this has given me much to look forward to. the prospect of the cessation of the ADT (hormone therapy implants) gives me great hope that the side effects of this treatment will disappear and I should get an increase in my energy and cognitive levels.

There is a small dark cloud still to be investigated of blood in the urine. I will be undergoing a small procedure with the insertion of a camera to investigate this issue early in the new year. At this early stage it is thought to be an infection in my bladder and it is being treated with antibiotics for the moment.

As I close off for 2012 I would like to offer the following two pieces of inspirational pieces that have been sent to me throughout the year. Both of these letters grabbed my imagination and I would now like to share them with my readers. and I wish everyone the very best for the Christmas period and my hopes for a safe and peaceful 2014 for mankind.

Lee aka Popeye

A life that matters

Live a life that matters Ready or not, someday it will come to an end.

All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten, will pass to someone else.

Your wealth, fame and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance.

It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed. Your grudges, resentments, frustrations, and jealousies will finally disappear.

So, too, your hopes, ambitions, plans, and to-do lists will expire.

The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away.

It won’t matter where you came from, or on what side of the tracks you lived, at the end.

It won’t matter whether you were beautiful or brilliant. Even your gender and skin colour will be irrelevant.

So what will matter? How will the value of your days be measured?

What will matter is not what you bought, but what you built; not what you got, but what you gave.

What will matter is not your success, but your significance. What will matter is not what you learned, but what you taught.

What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage or sacrifice that enriched, empowered or encouraged others to emulate your example.

What will matter is not your competence, but your character.

What will matter is not how many people you knew, but how many will feel a lasting loss when you’re gone.

What will matter is not your memories, but the memories that live in those who loved you.

What will matter is how long you will be remembered, by whom and for what.

Living a life that matters doesn’t happen by accident. It’s not a matter of circumstance, but of choice.

Choose to live a life that matters.

(David Sandoe OAM)
(Pam Sandoe OAM)

Growing Older

You know. . . time has a way of moving quickly and catching you unaware of the passing years. It seems just yesterday that I was young, just married and embarking on my new life with my mate. Yet in a way, it seems like eons ago, and I wonder where all the years went.

I know that I lived them all. I have glimpses of how it was back then and of all my hopes and dreams.

But, here it is… the winter of my life and it catches me by surprise… How did I get here so fast? Where did the years go and where did my youth go? I remember well seeing older people through the years and thinking that those older people were years away from me and that winter was so far off that I could not fathom it or imagine fully what it would be like.

But, here it is… my friends are retired and getting grey… they move slower and I see an older person now. Some are in better and some worse shape than me… but, I see the great change… Not like the ones that I remember who were young and vibrant… but, like me, their age is beginning to show and we are now those older folks that we used to see and never thought we’d be. Each day now, I find that just getting a shower is a real target for the day ! And taking a nap is not a treat anymore… it’s mandatory ! Cause if I don’t on my own free will… I just fall asleep where I sit !

And so… now I enter into this new season of my life unprepared for all the aches and pains and the loss of strength and ability to go and do things that I wish I had done but never did !! But, at least I know, that though the winter has come, and I’m not sure how long it will last… this I know, that when it’s over on this earth… it’s over. A new adventure will begin !

Yes, I have regrets. There are things I wish I hadn’t done… things I should have done, but indeed, there are many things I’m happy to have done. It’s all in a lifetime.

So, if you’re not in your winter yet… let me remind you, that it will be here faster than you think. So, whatever you would like to accomplish in your life please do it quickly! Don’t put things off too long!! Life goes by quickly. So, do what you can today, as you can never be sure whether this is your winter or not! You have no promise that you will see all the seasons of your life… so, live for today and say all the things that you want your loved ones to remember… and hope that they appreciate and love you for all the things that you have done for them in all the years past !!

“Life” is a gift to you. The way you live your life is your gift to those who come after. Make it a fantastic one.

Live it well! Enjoy today! Do something fun! Be involved, Be happy! Make every day a great day!

Remember “it is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.

Live happy in 2014!

Lastly, consider the following:

Today is the oldest you’ve ever been, yet the youngest you’ll ever be so – enjoy this day while it lasts.

Going out is good… Coming home is better !

You forget names…. But it’s OK because other people forgot they even knew you !!!

You realize you’re never going to be really good at anything…. especially golf.

The things you used to care to do, you no longer care to do, but you really do care that you don’t care to do them anymore.

You sleep better on a lounge chair with the TV blaring than in bed. It’s called “pre-sleep”.

You miss the days when everything worked with just an “ON” and “OFF” switch.

You tend to use more 4 letter words … “what?”… “when?”… ???

You notice everything they sell in stores is “sleeveless”?!!!

What used to be freckles are now liver spots.

Everybody whispers.

You have 3 sizes of clothes in your closet…. 2 of which you will never wear.

But Old is good in some things: Old Songs, Old movies, and best of all, OLD FRIENDS !!

Remember, It’s Not What You Gather, But What You Scatter That Tells What Kind Of Life You Have Lived.

See you all next year

See you all next year

Cheers

Lee aka Popeye

.

Written by Lee

17 December 2013 at 6:00 am

Losing and Regaining The Plot Part II

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Sometimes this is difficult

Sometimes this is difficult

Recently I was in the process of drafting a different article than the one that now appears here. At that time I was head down working on that draft when I was suddenly interrupted by some Eureka thoughts in regard to my recent emotional meltdown. Answers  to the jig saw that confounded me in my original story on losing and regaining the plot came pushing through and I could not ignore them. So here is my self-analysis for those who may be interested. I make no apologies to readers on the “poor me” syndrome that has been displayed by me as I have tried to be up front and tell it as it is. I can only hope this whole episode may reach out offering some hope to some one else who may also be battling to keep on an even keel.

Before I begin I must insist on stating the following:

I have been blessed in contacting the Queensland Cancer Council counselling service.  I have found this free service of immense value in trying to make sense of an out of character response  and series of actions that overwhelmed me recently. I am indebted to them for their professional and yet personal attention that they have offered me and continue to do so. I would urge anyone in need, either cancer patients, their friends, family and carers who require emotional support and understanding to contact them for assistance.

In one word what happened to me was GRIEF. I was experiencing un-resolved grief followed by illogical anger that was the cause of my emotional boil-over and subsequent actions. Grief is not just an emotion reserved for those who have lost a loved one, but can also be for a loss of many important things in a persons life. To understand my particular piece or pieces of grief you will have to know a bit about my life.

My wife and I have spent the past forty years sharing a love affair of salt water and boats who sail on it. I have been an avid explorer and adventurer of anything to do with just mucking around with boats. I have also been proudly employed for twenty years in the marine industry in a position where I have had the privilege of assisting people in distress, preventing maritime environmental disasters and efficiently and safely assisting in operating  ports in Queensland. I have owned and operated many boats in my life, the last one for over twenty years.

In 2009 my wife and I decided to hand my yacht of twenty years over to my daughter and her husband as I felt I could no longer manage the maintenance on it on my own. I loved that old piece of old timber and fibreglass but age had caught up with me, and unknown to me at the time, prostate cancer was likely taking hold of me. So with the assistance of my wife,  daughter my eldest grandson and a good mate of mine we sailed the boat from Mackay to her new home in Cairns Queensland. My Daughter and her husband have spent most of their spare time since 2009 fixing and updating the boat for their own use.

I had the distinction of retiring from my maritime profession three times since 2007 the final time was when I was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. My work place was continually short-staffed due to the lack of qualified operators so my first two retirements were short-lived. The last retirement appears however to be permanent.

Recently I was in Cairns for an extended stay which included a planned cruise in my old boat with my daughter, her husband and family. Also an old army friend and my eldest grandson were arriving to join us. Three weeks prior to the trip were spent by me assisting my son-in-law and my daughter do some much-needed maintenance on the boat.

It is here at this point, that the start of the groundwork had began for my un-resolved grief and subsequent problems. I found it most difficult to work on deck with my stiffness, loss of balance and little strength in my legs. While kneeling on deck doing small tasks I was unable to get to my feet without assistance. When my daughter and her husband had to call it quits and go back to work for a few days I offered to stay on board and continue working on my own. They flatly refused my offer without saying why and it took me only a few seconds to realise they were in the right in rejecting my offer. I had quickly figured it out that they had understood, that for safety reasons I should not be onboard on my own. Later I was to fully realise that I also did not have the balance or strength any more that was needed to operate some of the gear on board while sailing about.

We had our trip in perfect weather and had a wonderful trip. It felt marvellous for me being back out on the water visiting reefs and islands: A truly perfect trip…………..perhaps my last?? Who can say for sure?? After the trip I travelled with my wife and my grandson up to the tablelands behind Cairns and stayed with my wifes younger sister. While we were  there  we visited various cemeteries in the search for family history stuff. It was here that in my wanderings around the graves that I became a bit philosophical while reading the headstones. I remember thinking to myself of the futility of life and the inevitability of death for all of us. This line of thinking was also to play a big part in the mixing bowl of emotions that was about to erupt for me.

I had been away for nearly two months and out of my normal routine. I had been off my new medications because of my upset schedules. I had touched base with a part of my life that used to be such a huge satisfying pastime for so many years. I had wandered and pondered through peoples identities who now lay in various fields scattered throughout the Atherton Tablelands.

I began to grieve without realising what was happening to me. I was grieving for the loss of the man I used to be. I was grieving for the loss of the promise of more fine weather sailing, the exploring and adventuring that still lay out there to be discovered. I was grieving for the loss of my occupation, the satisfaction and feeling of self-worth I received by giving it my best shot.  I grieved for the perceived futility of life in general and for all the people and their loved ones who inhabit hillsides all over the world.

My grief lay hidden inside of me unable to be expressed until I turned it into anger. Flight or flight is the accepted perceived action of a person who is stressed. Well I believe I did both on that night. I used the small disagreement with my wife as the excuse to take flight and the thoughts of suicide I had during that flight was an expression of anger. The anger was not directed toward my wife but rather to the cancer and what it had done to me. I believe my rationalisation for trying to find the courage to drive my car into a tree that night was my fight response. Doing so would have cheated the disease of further degradation of my health. After all, had not the graves on the hillsides convinced me at the time, that life was futile and death was inevitable in any case.

Thinking now in a realistic way, I can see that there are many causes that could have an impact on a person. Life is a bit of a raffle not knowing what may lie around the corner that can change a persons circumstances forever. My good fortune has been to survive long enough to have enjoyed the things that have been important to me throughout my life. Death, accidents, other chronic illnesses and any of the thousands of poor decisions I made along the way could have affected the outcome for me. I have been extremely lucky to have come so far with so many brilliant memories.

As for the graves on the hillsides. I can now see that there is a much more to these people s lives and circumstances than just names and dates on a tombstone. All of these people from the past had stories and events meaningful to them and their families and loved ones of their times.  Yes death is inevitable for everyone, but so is life……….life exists to be lived, experienced, to laugh, to cry, to love, and be loved. Yes and perhaps…………..just perhaps there is more to death than life itself.

Perhaps a re-boot could be needed

Perhaps a re-boot could be needed

There were many private unexpected tears shed by me over these thoughts as they revealed my hidden unresolved emotions. I hope I have been successful in telling my little story so that it is easily understood. I am convinced I have resolved my grief for now and just like Bilbo Baggins, I can move on and go exploring again to find new adventures and new satisfaction. Perhaps slay a dragon or two, or save a damsel in distress, who knows????

Lee aka Popeye

Losing and Regaining the Plot

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Hoplessness

Hoplessness

I apologise to followers of this site for the delay in new material, but I was not overly concerned as I thought my last subject matter was more than relevant to carry us through. I have had a bit of a rough time emotionally lately as you will see and at one point thought I would not relay this information on to this web page. However Greg has whispered in my ear to remind me, that together we promised to supply on this web page personal information about both the good and the bad, the warts and all stuff. So I have decided to include my latest fight with the devil and lay it all out here in public.

I could have decided not to reveal this personal issue and kept it private but I have decided to be open and frank with my readers in the hope that others that read this article may receive some benefit from my story. It is a truism that you are never alone in life in both good times and bad times. Here it is for those who may benefit: The following personal account of my losing the plot and regaining some semblance of normality. Given more time I would have liked to present this information  as a much more profound account, but that was not to be. So here it is in a raw emotional article of fact.

Recently I spent six weeks in Cairns visiting my daughter and her family. This was made possible because my wife had agreed to house sit her sisters property which is also in Cairns while her sister was away on a trip. The visit went well but was full of stress for a number of reasons which are much too complicated for me to go into in this article. Besides the stress, it was a very successful visit none the less and culminated in a sailing trip for myself and my daughter, her family, an old army friend and my eldest grandson. We visited the reef and Fitzroy Island and had a ball.

As I was out of my normal routine, medication for my newly acquired diabetes diagnoses went out the window as did most of my normal fitness regime along with diet and alcohol consumption. However I returned home in what I thought, was a happy frame of mind looking forward to getting back into my normal regime. I had no idea that within two days my world was about to implode.

The following information is still as weird for me today as I write this, as you are about to read. Within two days of our return I had a minor disagreement with my wife and something snapped inside my head. I stormed off with a packed suitcase, left my mobile phone and medication at home and took off in the middle of the night. I departed on an insane five-hour drive and headed out to my little sapphire claim west of Emerald.

The stuff that was going through my head during the drive convinced me, that It was better if I just up and died immediately, right then and there to relieve my wife and family of all the rotten stuff that may be ahead of me. I felt I could spare them the horrible ordeal that I felt lay in the future. I felt pretty old, passed my used by date, worthless, useless and hopeless. Many times during that manic nights drive, I seriously contemplated suicide by swerving off the road and driving into the nearest tree. However at the last moment I lacked the courage to carry it through. I spent the next week at the camp re-evaluating my position and trying to find some sense in it all. I remained off my medications and refused to eat with the intention of hopefully bringing on a heart attack ( I now cringe at this mental gymnastic of mine.)

My son eventually turned up at the camp in a worried state at the direction of his worried mother and we were able to have a sane conversation. The result of all this is, that I returned home to Mackay in a stunned state and contacted the Queensland Cancer Council. They have a counselling service available free for cancer patients and their families. I decided to contacted them as I did not want to go to my GP for fear of just being handed more medication. The Cancer Council offered me the option of an independant view and as such they have been remarkable.

Thinking back on my emotional state at the time, the main problem for me was trying to understand what led me to behaving and thinking in this way. I still cannot work it out and perhaps I never will. I thought I had my demons under control, but on that night I completely lost the plot and it is so hard for me to understand why. My only straw I can grasp at to make sense of it all, is that it may have been a result of all the stress leading up to the happy Cairns visit, my not using the diabetes medication and ignoring dietary and alcohol consumption limits may have led to an imbalance of my brain chemistry.

At the time of writing this article I still feel embarrassed and at a complete loss as to how this state of affairs slipped through my guard. I have always been, and hope to continue being an upbeat type of person. Interestingly the Queensland Cancer Council Counsellor has assured me that my emotional state at the time is not an unusual event. Cancer patients who can appear to be coping well with their diagnoses for years and years and also for some who have been cured may still fall into a black hole at some later time in their lives.

There is an answer and help available

There is an answer and help available

For those that may be experiencing similar problems, it might be well worth while re-reading my last sentence, that it is not unusual for cancer patients either in remission or cured to crash into depression many years after the event. The trick is to realise what seems to be real is only a state of mind that blocks out the sun and is false. There is help out there to provide support to those who are in need. My hope in relating these events is to show others that these thoughts can blindside us for a time, but there is better way forward.

Lee aka Popeye

12 Month Anniversary Tribute For Greg

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Greg

Greg

Dear Readers. On the 24th September, it will be the sad anniversary of the death of Greg Naylor from prostate cancer. So as a tribute to Greg I would like to do the following. I have re-published the articles “The Last Post” By his son David and also the article by Greg “I Have Never Died Before.” These are immediately below this post.

The article “I Have Never Died Before,” was Greg’s attempt at bringing everything together in a book form. It finished up a complete autobiography, not only with his fight with cancer but his personal life and spiritual beliefs throughout his time on earth. Greg’s article is his legacy to his family and the general public as a complete life story of the man himself.

It is not everyone who gets the chance to do this during their lives, but in Greg’s case I feel it was the cancer itself that gave him the opportunity to envisage and compiete this story. In many ways, it could be read and seem to be a very ordinary story with little to offer the reader. However there is much more to evaluate when looking deeper into this mans life and comparing it with ourselves.

Greg in his illness, attempted to give something back to other men diagnosed with this disease and he chose to do this through his web site. He, like myself wanted to offer a personalised account of his medical and mental trials throughout his treatment so that others, coming behind him could identify with someone who is going through the maze before them.

It has been said that each mans journey with prostate cancer is different on a medical level, but there are many similarities on a personal basis that patients can take advantage of for help and guidance when either, reading or talking to those that have been there before them. That is a recognised benefit of support groups; and this is exactly what Greg’s site offers readers.

The hidden value of Greg’s articles is that they are timeless. The information related to cancer and its effects is identifiable and just as relevant today as when he began writing about his journey with cancer in 2008. My efforts of contributing to this web page, is in hope that this site continues to satisfy a need for personal information to men diagnosed with prostate cancer and their carer’s. I would very much like to continue providing much of what Greg began in 2008 for those that follow us down the track.

The article/book, “I Have Never Died Before” is reproduced below this article and following Davids tribute with the “Last Post.” It is a lengthy book size article with a table of contents making it easier to move about. I would urge readers to investigate the chapters, as they will lead people into the private life of a good man.

I sometimes wonder if things might have been different for Greg, had he survived long enough to see the acceptance and availability in Australia of the new drug Abiraterone. (Zytiga) The question will remain unanswered unfortunately, but this drug will make a difference in the management of prostate cancer for many men from this time onward .

Greg, in my mind you stand proudly beside those men and women who I have, from time to time brought to the attention of our readers in my previous articles. Andy Ripley, Harry Pinchot, Jai and Randy Pausche and the many more ordinary folk who have managed to make a difference, and of whom I have still to discover. Thank you Greg for being there for me.

Old Mate

Old Mate

Lee aka Popeye

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