Jim is 83 years old. He retired when he was 63 after a career in mechanical design engineering. In 1972 Jim and his wife Betty left Glasgow, where he had operated a garage, to move to Geelong to work for Ford.
Ten years ago Jim had a routine blood test. With an elevated PSA level Jim was referred to a urologist for further investigation. He underwent a biopsy which showed a Gleason Score of 7. Jim was provided with a range of options to consider, and provided with written material to assist in the decision- making. Over the following weeks Jim and Betty together researched those options, reading the literature and engaging in discussion with the practice urology nurse. They decided that a radical prostatectomy would be the most appropriate treatment for Jim.
He had the laparoscopic radical prostatectomy in 2008, and spent three nights in hospital. “The urologist reckoned he had got everything,” recalls Jim.
Like many men post-op, Jim experienced significant issues with urinary continence. However after about six months this cleared up to the point of him not even requiring any pads. Unfortunately deterioration set in and Jim’s urologist suggested that fitting a sling could be effective in resolving his incontinence. This has proved to be effective.
Early post-op PSA blood tests were clear, and indicated that the RP operation had been successful. However over the ten years since that operation Jim’s PSA has increased gradually, and is now 3.7. Jim says “I asked the urologist if there was anything I could do to slow down the PSA increase, but he just told me to go away and enjoy myself. If it does start to increase too fast, I was told that there would be options to consider.”
Jim was initially introduced to the Bellarine Prostate Support Group by GPSG member John Lee. He attended meetings of that group for a couple of years, but when the Bellarine Group ceased to operate Jim moved over to the Geelong group. He enjoys attending meetings, hearing the stories of other men and sharing his experiences with those in a similar situation.
Jim also notes the enormous support he has received from his wife Betty and their three daughters throughout his journey with prostate cancer.
Jim has had a couple of other hospital visits since his RP – unrelated to prostate cancer. In 2014 he had a quadruple bypass and in 2018 he had a stent fitted in his left leg to overcome an obstructed artery.
Asked what he did to keep looking so fit and healthy, Jim attributes that to attending the gym twice a week, Betty’s cooking along with a nice red wine. Jim and Betty are about to embark on their first cruise. “It will just be a short 5-day cruise to Tasmania, to break my wife into cruising – she’s a bit wary.” If that works out, Jim assures me that there will be more and longer cruises to come!