Keiran McGovern – Founder Member Buddy
Born in 1962 in Kingston Upon Thames, London, I was one of two children being the eldest, with a younger sister. Life there was manic for several reasons but one of the outcomes from this was a move to Wandsworth where I spent my teenage years. Like loads of boys I wanted to be a jet fighter pilot, probably because dad would take me to air shows at Farnborough but the required degree in physics kyboshed all that and because I was car daft, it seemed natural to leave school and gain an apprenticeship in motor vehicle mechanics, working initially on Vauxhall and Fiat cars.
Later, having visited Dumfries on holiday on numerous occasions, I fell in love with the area and shortly after arriving here, started with Kingans Sawmill at New Abbey. Two years later I joined Western SMT as a bus driver, a job I thoroughly enjoyed for the best part of twenty years, followed by five years at Penmans before eventually moving on to Dumfries Council as a ‘refuse operator’ !
I am officially considered by some to be a ‘Jockney’!.
It would be fair to say that that this collection of jobs has given me several different angles on life in general but one thing is for sure, marriage to Sandra was the best thing I ever did because she’s my best friend and my rock, through thick and thin. Not to mention the fact that I inherited two beautiful daughters and I now have four beautiful grandkids. I have a lot to be grateful for.
Ten years ago, whilst at work, I keeled over and had a heart attack, which resulted in a stent being fitted at the Golden Jubilee, Glasgow for a 90% blocked artery. After months of recuperation, I returned to work, doing light duties. However, two years later, as a result of my annual heart check-up, Sandra (she who knows best) mentioned to my doctor that I was dribbling after peeing. To many, this might seem like a minor issue, but my doctor decided that though I was only forty nine and not likely to have a problem with my Prostate, he decided to do a blood test to check my PSA anyway.
The PSA (prostate specific antigen) score of 18.8 was deemed high enough to warrant an internal biopsy exam which confirmed I had Prostate Cancer and the subsequent choice of either Brachytherapy or Surgery was mine to make. After a lot of research I felt the surgical procedure offered at that time was too invasive (unlike today where much less intrusive robotic keyhole surgery is performed) and elected for the Brachytherapy, which I should explain involves one overnight visit to hospital, where dozens of irradiated platinum seeds are inserted in the prostate, with the aim of killing the cancer.
Unlike the outcome of the surgery where the prostate is removed, I still have mine and treatment is ongoing to this day, with male hormone injections and regular PSA checks for the specialists to keep it all in line and continue to provide any treatment required.
You know, the treatments offered today are a lot better than they were even a few years ago but here’s the thing. I’m still here and enjoying life with family and friends.
Whatever you may think, it’s better to do something when you have any of the symptoms, rather than bury your head in the sand. If or when you meet me I will say the same. Too many guys live in hope that they aren’t the one in eight who gets this illness. I recently discovered that my dad had it, meaning that my cancer was hereditary and my chances were not one in eight but just one in two.
Don’t play Russian Roulette with your life but do everything you can to give yourself the best chance of surviving Prostate Cancer. Prostate Buddies D & G will do what we can to guide you. Come and talk to us. Keiran McGovern.