David K’s Story
David King – Dumfries Buddy
Born in Dumfries on July 12th 1968, I was a second child to Jan & Vic King, a wee Brother to Diane and then only a year later, my younger Brother Stanley was born. Sadly, he is no longer with us.
I’ve lived in Dumfries all my life and am a proud Doonhamer. I attended St Ninian’s Primary School then Maxwelltown High School, both a short distance from my home in Lochside. I had a very happy childhood as a young boy and I enjoyed most sports, including football and fishing but my love for the game of golf has stayed with me to this day. I used to play for hours, practicing in Glentrool Park and later played at the Crichton Golf Club, becoming Club Champion no less than six times. I also held the course record with a score of 63 -7, so some would say I’m not a bad player. I changed clubs for Southerness Golf Club, where I managed to be Club Champion once, even playing for South Scotland and managed to be Champion there too. My lowest handicap was +2 but now its scratch, so I’ve dropped a few shots which could be down to my age.
I’m married to Yvonne (Von). She’s got the patience of a Saint and doesn’t mind me playing golf. Indeed, she encourages me to follow my dreams.
We’ve been married for 32 years and been blessed with one child, our Son Thomas, of whom we are very proud. We’ve also been blessed with two grandchildren that we dote on and they have us wrapped round their little fingers, always trying (and being very successful) at getting a sleepover at Nana & Papas. I think we enjoy it more than them!.
We enjoy going abroad on holiday, Krakow the city itself is stunning but seeing the Salt mines and Concentration Camps at Auschwitz and Birkenau were an eye opener for us – definitely worth a visit. We love Crete as the people are so friendly.
I enjoy listening to 80s music and go every June with Yvonne and her cousins to the ‘Let’s Rock Scotland’ music festival at Dalkeith Country Park, with lots of 80’s bands and singers. It’s awesome and has a great atmosphere.
When I left school I started work with Robison and Davidson, a local Building Firm. I was doing grounds work, putting in drainage, laying paths, just general Civil Engineering and in fact I was there until it closed its doors in the late 80s early 90s, whereupon I moved onto another local firm, David Hardie Engineering, doing the same work. Currently I’m with R. D. Nairn Civil Engineering.
My Prostate Journey started in February 2021 when I went for an eye test of all things and they found a little blood spot behind my left eye, which prompted them to advise me to get my bloods tested at my Doctors’ Surgery. Because of my age, I wanted it tested for everything as my wife commented I’d been getting up for the loo a bit too much during the night and also, I couldn’t get in a full round of golf without needing to go, so I thought it best to get it checked thoroughly. A few days later the results came back, showing that my PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen in your blood) reading was 7, so I was referred to the Urology department at Dumfries Royal Infirmary, where I was seen by Mr Choudhury. He suggested an initial MRI scan, where they found areas of concern in my Prostate Gland.
Next, biopsies were taken and after about two weeks I got the results I wasn’t expecting, – that I had Prostate Cancer.
My head was all over the place. Surely it was just old men who got this and not me at age 53!. I then had another appointment at DGRI, this time to discuss what was about to happen with me. The Oncology Nurses are absolutely brilliant and deserve a mention. Clare put me at ease and discussed what was to happen next. I was given an appointment at Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle for a bone scan, which thankfully was all clear, so at least there was some good news.
Later, having completed all the necessary preliminary tests, I attended the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh for two appointments in the same day. It’s quite common to be offered two or more different treatments for Prostate Cancer and the decision is often left entirely to the patient which I found puzzling. Firstly. I saw the Oncologist who described the ‘Brachytherapy’ treatment, where they inject radiotherapy in seed form, into the Prostate. This would work into my Prostate over about a one-year period and would aim to kill off the cancer. The second appointment was with Professor Alan McNeil, to discuss surgery (a Radical Prostatectomy), which to be honest was my first thought when I got the news about having cancer. (Surgery isn’t everyone’s choice and Í respect that.)
While my very first thought on being diagnosed was to have my Prostate removed, I still spoke with both Specialists in depth about the best way forward for my treatment and finally opted to have the prostate removed by robotic surgery. The operation was performed at the ‘Spire’ Hospital, Edinburgh in January this year (2022). Thankfully I am now on the road to full recovery.
I had an appointment in early March to speak with ‘The Prof’, as he’s widely known, at the Western General to discuss the results of the operation and what comes next for me. Thankfully, the operation was a big success and a more recent blood test confirms this. I will continue to have blood test taken for five years to keep an eye on things.
I’d advise anyone attending cancer appointments not to do it alone but take someone with you with a notebook and pen, to take notes as your head will be mush with everything they tell you and it‘s more than likely that you won’t remember everything you are told.
Throughout all this I’ve maintained a very positive attitude, which I think has kept me sane. I even managed to get back to golfing just 5 weeks after surgery.
The support I’ve received from my wife, son, wider family and friends, has been overwhelming. When I tell people what I’m going through, they tell me I’m too young but now, having lived with Prostate Cancer, I know it can affect men of all ages not just ‘auld men’.
Anyone diagnosed with Cancer has their own unique journey. Speaking to others who have lived with it helps. Men I’ve golfed with have overcome it and also, speaking with the guys at Prostate Buddies D & G has helped me, as they have all been through it and are happy to share their experiences. The Buddies are a very welcoming bunch and you can say anything you feel.
Now that I am one of the ‘Buddies’, I know we’ve all ‘been there’ and understand how it feels. I would encourage anyone who has any concerns to speak with someone from the group.
Lastly I advise you to stay positive, as there is so much that can be done now for Cancer Patients.