Thursday, April 17, 2014

Diary of a Prostate Wimp

The book I've been writing on my experiences of how the medical world dealt with my prostate is now almost ready. It only lacks a cover, an ISBN and a CIP (the National Library of New Zealand's Cataloguing-in-Publication Data - each country has their own version of these). All these are all in the pipeline in various ways. So I may make my deadline of the end of April after all. 

I've had a brilliant editor who went through my 'final' draft with such a fine toothcomb that he found things I hadn't thought were even there. Though I must add that I also found a couple of tiny things he missed - but then he was working, as usual, on about six other things at the same time. Nevertheless the final text is correct in ways I wouldn't have achieved on my own. 

I've sometimes had some qualms about whether the information in the book is too personal, too in-your-face (especially if you're not a bloke), too intense, and too-a-variety-of-other-things. Time will tell. The book is partly based on a series of blog posts I wrote back at the time the events were happening, and at that time I began to read - but never finished - a book called Please Leave the Seat Up by Brian Turner. Brian was an Englishman who'd gone to the US with his wife to take over a branch of his company. It was going to be a highly successful time, and he would have done very well. Within weeks he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, and all his plans fell apart. While I was putting my own book together over the last few months I actually read Brian's book. If I had qualms about anything in my book being too much in your face, then Brian's book showed me that when it comes to talking about health, almost anything is permissible! Not only is it permissible, it's essential to tell the readers the details, because the medical profession doesn't. 

This was one of the big things I learned about having something seriously wrong: the medical profession knows a lot of what can go wrong, but prefers to wait until it goes wrong before they tell you that it's not abnormal, and that thousands of other people have been in the same boat. The only thing is that few of those thousand people have written about their experiences and passed on what they've learned. 

Still, I often got more help and information from friends and colleagues who'd either had the same experience, or something similar. The doctors and nurses would be helpful if you asked (generally) but they tended not to provide information if you didn't ask. And how would you know to ask until you found something strange was happening? I'm not blaming the medical people - some of them were extraordinarily helpful and I thank God for them - but it sometimes feels they think that less information is better than more, even when that little bit more information might have allayed a lot of your concerns. 

I was fortunate to get through the experience; many, as I show in the book, have much worse times than I did. Prostate issues, and prostate cancer, are amongst the most common problems men can have in later life. Hopefully this book will help some men before they find themselves involved in such difficulties. 

By the way, it's called Diary of a Prostate Wimp. You'll have to read it to find out why!

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