Mike is 71 years old. He completed a career in teaching 23 years ago; his teaching had always involved working with students with intellectual and behavioural disabilities. Following teaching, a passion for French motor cars saw Mike next open his own business in Ballarat in the service and repair of Peugeot cars.
In 2001 Mike retired to Torquay. He returned to part-time teaching in 2005, again with older students with disabilities at a Geelong school.
He has had a family history of the impact of cancer.
Mike’s father died from lung cancer when he was 61, and each of his three brothers died in their mid-50s, two from brain tumors and one from a massive heart attack. From around the age of 55 Mike had been having regular annual PSA blood tests, with the results always normal. However he let this testing lapse for 5 years. In March 2013 Mike had a PSA test which returned a score of 19. He was referred to a urologist, and following a DRE and another blood test was advised to have a biopsy and bone scan. Unfortunately a high level of prostate cancer was detected; Mike had a Gleason Score of 7, and the cancer had metastasised into his lower spine and pelvis. Mike’s urologist advised he commence hormone deprivation therapy with 4 x monthly Lucrin injections to be taken until his PSA reduced to less than one. This result was achieved in mid 2014, and he was then taken off Lucrin. In August 2015, Mike’s PSA had escalated to 13, and he re-commenced the Lucrin. By December it was down to 1. Taken off it again, his PSA is now slowly rising, and he may have to resume Lucrin in September this year.
Mike reports “…I am happy; the Lucrin is having the right effect; it is doing its job. However the impact of the Lucrin is making me pretty tired. It depletes me physically; I don’t have the same muscle strength.” Even having now been off Lucrin for 5 months, “…I feel different; I don’t feel my body has recovered.” Mike enjoys road trips but reflects “….I used to be able to drive all day, but now I travel 200 kms and I want to snooze. It’s exhausting.” Mike has always enjoyed overseas travel. “I love travel; I would really love to go back to some favorite places in England and Italy. But right now I couldn’t do it.”
Another area where Mike’s prostate cancer treatment has impacted is with his community involvement in the SES. He joined the Torquay SES, and spent 13 years with the Unit. Mike became Unit Controller, and loved his work and involvement in the Surf Coast community. However he had to give that away. “With my tiredness and the strength required, I couldn’t do it anymore.”
Mike loves his cars. He owns an MGB sports car and a Peugeot, and is a member of both the MG and the Peugeot Car Clubs. Mike also enjoys spending time tinkering with cars, has an antique clock collection and enjoys travelling with his wife, Lesley, in their caravan. As with other interests and activities, his HDT for prostate cancer has reduced Mike’s energy levels.
Mike acknowledges and appreciates the encouragement given by his older brother, then facing serious illness, to retire early, taking the pressure off himself and reduce his stress levels.
It was Mike’s urologist who mentioned the Geelong Prostate Support Group and ManPlan and who provided brochures suggesting that he might make contact. Participating in the Manplan, Mike also met Zeni and Colin who told him more about the Group. He attends Group meetings frequently.
Family is very important to Mike. He loves involvement with his six grandchildren. He speaks very highly of the support he has been provided by wife Lesley, and his two daughters.
Despite the impact of his medication, Mike enjoys always being active.