Bill is sixty years old, and self-employed as an electrical engineer. He has been having an annual PSA test since 1996 (age 42), when his then 76 year-old father died from prostate cancer. At 50 years, in 2004, Bill’s PSA score went from 2 to 3. Even though it was within the allowed range of up to 3.5, for his age. Alarm bells rang for him.
Whilst his doctor felt that there was probably nothing to worry about, Bill was concerned that his PSA had spiked since the previous test. He asked for a referral to a urologist. Like his GP, the urologist said that there was probably nothing to worry about. However another PSA test was organized which subsequently confirmed the spike in his PSA reading. Bill was pro-active in seeking a biopsy. Six samples were taken in the biopsy, and three of these indicated cancer. The urologist provided Bill with a range of options to consider. Bill was of the view that ‘…there were no two thoughts about it – just get it out.’ The experience of seeing his father die so quickly had such a huge impact. What scared Bill most was when he asked to see his father’s x-rays, to see the extent and the speed to which the cancer had spread throughout his father’s body and bones.
In April 2005, Bill had a radical prostatectomy. The pathology report of the removed prostate indicated a Gleason score of 7, but that the cancer was confined to the gland itself.
He expected to be home from hospital inside a week – in fact he remained in hospital for another 5 weeks. Bill experienced persistent internal bleeding. Following the radical, he was opened up two more times in order to try to stop the bleeding and deal with an internal infection that had set in as a result of complications arising from the premature removal of the catheter. It was suggested by the medical team that the internal bleeding was the result of a rare blood disorder, later possibly attributed to the blood transfusion that occurred during the prostatectomy.
As a result of the infection he was required to have a suprapubic catheter to allow healing and prevent scarring from the infection. Upon removal of the suprapubic catheter, it would be another six months of self catheterisation before Bill could finally return to work.
Whilst in hospital Bill saw an advertisement on a wall for the Geelong Prostate Support Group. He attended his first meeting in November 2005, and has attended regularly since then. He trained for the PCFA Ambassador program in 2006, as he wanted to make men aware of the need to be vigilant about being tested for prostate cancer. He considered himself lucky to have been diagnosed early with prostate cancer and not have to deal with subsequent treatments. He subsequently became secretary of the Geelong PSG in 2012. He is also responsible for the Group’s new-look, and highly-regarded, monthly newsletter.
What Bill sees as most valuable in a Prostate Support Group are the contacts that are made amongst members and the sharing of experiences in dealing with their situations. A conversation with one member resulted in Bill seeing a new doctor and a naturopath, and ‘…this has really steered my life..’ Bill describes his excellent heath as being a result of a focus on Vitamin D, Fish Oil, Live Blood Testing, reduced sugar intake and maintaining an alkaline body.
Bill is supported by his wife Rosa; she joins with other partners in attending the partners’ get-togethers.