Pleading, Beseeching, Begging
December 22, 2017
The consulting room has two small prints on the wall – scenes of Venice by Canaletto, faded to pink. I tell the consultant I have numb hands and feet, and I don’t have the energy to ride my bike. He gruffly says you’d be mad to ride in this weather. I see him note down ‘lethargic’. He hasn’t yet seen the results of my earlier blood test. He’d rather see people to assess them than rely on bloods, and I’m well enough to have my next chemo session. He’s adding a fourth session to my planned three, before my next CT scan next year. On we go.
But this post isn’t about me. It’s about you. I’m going to plead with you, beseech you, beg you even, to go and get yourself checked out.
Gentlemen – go and get your prostate checked. It’s ten seconds of laying on your side in your doctor’s surgery while having a quick prod and a poke. The anticipation is far worse than the experience. While you’re there, get your testicles checked. Another few seconds that could make a huge difference to the rest of your life. Then you can skip off for a skinny decaf soya latte feeling smug because you’ve done something great.
Ladies – go and get your breasts checked. It’s uncomfortable being prodded and poked, but the benefits far, far, far outweigh the discomfort. Have a smear test too if your not already going regularly. These checks could save your life. Then you can treat yourself to something elegant and tasteful while feeling smug about the great thing you’ve just done.
And anyone – if you have sudden mood swings, feel flat and angry all the time, low energy, forgetful and tearful (yes, this was me), see your doctor and get a blood test. A blood test is revelatory, an instant snapshot of how your body is coping. If anything is out of kilter, it can be addressed immediately.
Please, go and get prodded and poked for me, because I care about you. But much more importantly, go and get checked for the people in your lives that you love and who love you. They need you. I know how crucial it is to get an early diagnosis. My cancer was already at stage 3/4, so my treatment is pretty brutal. Early stage cancer can be more easily treated and managed.
This isn’t meant to be doom and gloom. Your body is a delicate machine that will develop the occasional fault. Just like a car needing a service, the longer you leave it, the more costly it will get. Just don’t end up wishing you’d done something sooner. So make it happen in the New Year. Make it a HaPPY New Year – Have a Prod and a Poke Year!
Finally, thank you all for your kindness, support and encouragement over this eventful year. They are valued beyond words.
With love, Steve.
Here is a photo made up of four separate images recently taken on a visit to Kings College in Cambridge.