Prostate cancer survivor Jimmy Conway

Profile: Jimmy, prostate cancer survivor

I’m Jimmy and my cancer journey began in August 2015 with a visit to my GP for a routine blood test, a present to myself for turning 50 - an NCT if you like! The blood test results came back with an elevated PSA reading at 19.2. There was an internal exam done and my prostate was slightly enlarged. But I was sent for a biopsy in September. I'll never forget the day I went to get the results. My name was called and I said to my wife Kathleen, "I'll be back in a minute", but when I entered the room the oncologist asked if I had someone with me. I knew there and then it was bad news and he proceeded to tell me that I had prostate cancer.  I put my head in my hands and said f**k.  I looked over to Kathleen, she was numb and white as a ghost. 

We gathered out thoughts and asked him what was to happen next, he said the prostate and the cancer would be removed, but first I would have to get scans to see if the cancer had spread. That brought more bad news, the cancer had metastasized and spread to my bones, pelvis and a hot spot on my spine. The oncologist told me I had to have radium and chemotherapy, but first I had to have four injections called fermagone.  The oncologist described these injections as a form of clinical castration. After the fourth injection the next thing was the radium and in the new year I started my chemotherapy.

I went to work every day except one, when I felt totally wiped out, and I slept that day for 16 hours. 

It’s been a tough few years but it has put things into perspective in our lives and now I have reduced my workload to give my body a chance and to enjoy life a bit more and spend more time with the people I love. I'm in a very good place, managing to live with cancer and all its baggage.  My latest oncology visit in Jan 2019 was by far my best so far. The doctor was the same oncologist that had originally diagnosed me over 3 years ago.  He told me I am in remission and should be for a long time to come.

This might sound very strange to some people but cancer, believe it or not, is not the worst disease in the world. If you can try and make a positive out of a negative situation, you'll have the best tool to fight this thing.  But my advice is NO ONE can fight cancer on their own, we have to let people into our lives and talk to people, but most importantly we have to learn to listen! Learn to listen to your body and it will tell you what you need to know. Take all the help you can get because you're in for the biggest fight of your lives.