Sunday, 16 October 2011

That Unsettled Feeling

That Unsettled Feeling

Occasionally in life you get the uneasy and unsettled feeling when you’re unsure of the future and not certain as to which way life is taking you, well I got that feeling this last few months.

This you understand was written in 2012 when I was still a working farmer on 250acres 

Looking back over the years I got it when I first started school, then at eleven when we went to the big school in town, but that was soon over come within a few days when you got to know your way around.

The next time was when I got married and got my own house when I set up on my own farm (tenanted farm), then every now and then when things did not go how you would like, like loosing a calf or even worse loosing cow. I was always reminded by my father that “Where you have livestock, you have dead stock”.

Some of these feeling pass quickly, gone in a few days, other times they last for weeks and weeks or so it seems until you get used to the new situation. When in one of these periods I find it hard to concentrate enough to even write a blog, so I thought I would write a blog about this subject to see how many other folk have the same unsettled feelings and how they get through them.

Perhaps I better start to reveal what is causing my unsettled feeling,

Don’t know if a blog of this sort is in the right place, being a farming blogger and this is a medical blog, but the farmers and all folk who work on the land and in agriculture are not immune from these sort of problems,

So here goes

Well it started some 10weeks ago when I had one of my rare visits to the doctors. It was nothing, or nothing that I had not had occasionally over the years, and would not have bothered with, only my dear wife pointed out I ought to go and reminded me of my age (73). So that same morning I tracked off to see our doctor Sam H. he asked how things are and gradually got around to ask me the reason for my visit. Well I said, I get a bit of a twinge or sting every time I pass water (pee)  and wanted something (other than the old remedy of Pearl barley) to clear it quickly. ( Doctors used to tell you you have got "Farmers bladder"--- never ever having to hold onto ya water, feel you want a pee, just turn to the hedge or the tractor wheel and let it go instantly) never having to wait to go to the loo.

 Sam had already started doing a prescription of antibiotics to clear the immediately problem; when he suggested that I go to the hospital for some tests. (he had seen a trace of blood in the urine sample) An appointment came through the post for two weeks later to see the Urologist, who promptly put in motion kidney bladder and blood tests.

 This all done I waited for the results in a weeks time to be told the kidneys and bladder all clear. But next he wanted a biopsy of my prostrate, and yet another appointment came through for me go to the operating theatre ( at the Stafford Hospital, ) They took ten biopsies (felt like an old hen pecking at ya arse) in all, and the result came a week later positive, in other words I had got Prostrate Cancer.

 This now is the reason for my unease and not knowing what the future holds. But wait, more tests now to see if it has spread into bone and the lymph glands, this includes a full body bone scan with some radioactive injected into my blood stream left three hours then the scan taken fortunately this proved clear as did the lymph gland test.

So now the medication has started in preparation for radio therapy, this is a course of pills and injections to suppress my testosterone, apparently the cancer feeds on testosterone and if that is reduced or suppressed the cancer has nothing to feed on. ( do you remember we used to implant cockerels with summat like this to fatten them for christmas and their combes would go pale and walked about very passively. Well I felt just like a bloody caponized cockerel)  

Basically its hormone therapy and it is already giving me sweats and a lethargic feeling with no energy. The first three weeks of pills led up to a monthly injection/implant which I am told will go on indefinitely into the future.

The Radio therapy treatment will be starting in Mid December or early January this will include a thirty  mile round trip every day, five days a week for seven weeks

 If you’re a man of a certain age, fifty or over I am told, you should have a PSA test early to see if you have prostrate problem, neglected it will kill you.

The whole point of this blog is to warn older men (or those who are looking after older men) to have a regular test done; looking back in my diary I had a test done five years ago and it was clear back then,  you do not know you have it, and it's  too damn late if it gets into your bone and lymph glands. I was shocked and surprised; they told me mine is treatable. I am still working full time on the farm up early every morning, the only thing in the back of your mind now is that of  an uneasy and unsettled feeling which I fear is going to last a bit longer than it did in my younger days.

In preparation for the December January  radio therapy I have sold off all the 18 month old cattle that I would have normally keep through the winter, to reduce the work load. The suckler cows winter out and are fairly easy to manage and the weaned calves will be in one big shed for the winter

It looks like me (and the family) will be having a bit of an extended feeling of unease and uncertainty for a few more months yet.

The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty; not knowing what comes next.
Ursula K LeGuin