'Never grow a wishbone daughter where your backbone ought to be'
Sounds are what I recall most about our family's experience with Prostate Cancer.
......The sound of my strong, handsome dad sobbing uncontrollably down the phone as he told me he had 6 months to live
......The sound of my mum's frantic phone call, just 4 weeks later, telling me that dad was having a "seizure”
......The sudden understanding of the term "deathly silence " when I arrived at their house expecting the hustle and bustle of the paramedics inside
......The sound of my brother scream every inch of his heart out when I rang him that morning on his business trip in Florida
......The sound of my mum's fear as her safe harbour crumbled and disappeared
Even now, 6 years later, I can feel every sound in every part of my being.
These sounds are the result of our family's battle with Prostate Cancer and my quest since has been to raise awareness and funds for this silent killer.
So, now that I have your attention, let me share some happiness. Our dad was awesome and today I stand proud in the strength he gave us.
He taught my brother and I to “feel the fear and do it anyway”......but safely. Although I am sure this approach left our mum rocking silently on many occasions, we had so many adventures where he taught us how to embrace the challenge, make a solid plan and then just do it! And today, in-spite of my inner scaredy cat frequently screaming “you can’t do this, this is bigger than you”...... I shout back “just watch me” and for that I am eternally grateful.
So, let’s get to the REALLY important bit as to why I bang my drum. My dad was beyond “well” for his age with his fitness levels putting most 20 year olds to shame and he had no signs or symptoms at all. His prostate cancer was only picked up on a routine blood test and unfortunately, due to the nature of the disease progression, it was never going to end with smiles. But his general “health” had most people fooled that all was well, right up until the end.
Prostate Cancer claimed the lives of 11,000 men in the UK last year, overtaking the number of deaths due to breast cancer, however if caught early, Prostate Cancer is very treatable and curable. Which is why the work of Prostate Cancer UK is so important as they provide disease awareness, support, specialist nurse helplines, and critically, research into finding better diagnostic tests and treatment.
So if you have a prostate or know someone with a prostate, please check out this link to learn more about this disease and this link to make a donation via the Fortycubed challenge.
For my dad, Mike Downes HRD (His Royal Dodginess) x