a band playing at the bottom of a canyon with people all around cheering

I’ve Hit Rock Bottom (And Everyone’s Cheering)

I’ve just had some pretty good news and that’s what all the cheering is about, but it needs a little context, so bear with me.

Time for celebration

I celebrated my 65th birthday a couple of weeks back. My wife and I threw quite a party and whooped it up with as many old and new friends as we could muster.

I was lucky enough to assemble a magnificent band mostly made up of friends from my days in the music business. I still play guitar and sing when the mood takes me, and it certainly took me that night. Even though most of the band were my friends I firmly believe that musicians should get paid for playing so I gave all of them a small sum of money to say thank you. They tried to refuse but I said take it and why not give it to a prostate cancer charity.

Feeling stats angst at the doctor

Last Thursday I was due to see my oncologist for my quarterly check-up and PSA test. Keen readers will recall that on my last visit to the doc my PSA had risen slightly, within the margin of error, but still not what I wanted to hear.

On the morning of my doctor’s appointment, I was sat at my computer feeling pretty panicky with my Stats Angst way up in the red zone. Suddenly a message popped up from Simon, an old friend, and the bassist in my birthday party band.

A message from Simon

I think the best thing I can do is quote the note in full:

‘We were out on the Oxford canal in our kayak last Saturday morning when another kayak came towards us with what appeared to be two Vikings paddling vigorously. When questioned they said they were on their way to a beard festival in Oxford and were raising money for Prostate Cancer UK by paddling the length of the canal. So, without further ado, I whisked out my gig fee from your fine birthday celebration and handed it over and we both went merrily on our ways. They did have mighty fine beards.’

A heavy sigh of relief

Seeing that made my day, but soon afterward I had to set out to see my oncologist. Mrs. Preen met me at the hospital where we sat waiting pretending not to be nervous.

As soon as we were called in, I felt positive as my doctor seemed unusually relaxed and no wonder when she told me my PSA had just about hit rock bottom and now stood at 0.03, meaning my cancer was virtually undetectable.

I call my prostate cancer my Unwelcome Guest and obviously the guest can make an unwelcome return, but this is good news by any standards. My next appointment is not for another six months.

Good days on the darkest of journey

I know there will be many of you out there who are going through a tough time right now and perhaps have little to celebrate. I remember when I was first diagnosed, I thought my life was over, but there can be good days on what sometimes seems like the darkest of journeys.

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