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Roly’s Story

Roly Proudlock – Chairman & Founder

Grandfather of three. There you go. If I only had three words to tell my back story it would have to be just that, as I’m the doting Papa of three wonderful little individuals who fill my heart with love and pride, every single day.

But as great comedian Jimmy Cricket used to say, “there’s more”. Born in 1953 I joined a large family that never seemed to stop and there was always a buzz in the house, with folk permanently coming and going.

Having three older sisters during the emergence of the Beatles means I’m a lifelong fan but my musical tastes are eclectic, as evidenced by my favourite classical tune, ‘Nimrod’ by Elgar. That one gets me right there, every time!. And liking music came in handy when I started playing drums at eighteen. I even got to play drums for Jimmy Cricket among other big names in their day. Forty seven years later I still play and still love it, but mostly for musicals and that’s how I came to meet one of the other buddies, Scott.

Apart from music, cars and motor sport have featured strongly in my life story. I was rubbish at rally driving but enjoyed it nonetheless. I’ve moved on from that now and so, if I may be a little less modest, another love is gardening and I recon I know a thing or two about that. I genuinely love my garden and whether I’m in it or looking out at it, it makes me happy. And some day, I’ll get to use that artist’s studio I have, painting landscapes in the loft above our garage.

Careers have been varied but always orientated toward customer service and the last 24 years as an Independent Financial Adviser at Annandale Financial Services where I’m a partner have been interesting to say the least, with so many changes having taken place in the industry.

I mentioned three members of the family at the top and now I return to that topic.

For me, one of the most important elements since March 2018 has been the support of family, mainly of course, my wife Thelma. She was as shocked as me with the diagnosis but has been with me all of the way, sharing my pre-op fears, going with me to my appointments and ultimately, helping me so much in my recovery. I would have struggled without her support and I will always remember that. Our son Mark and daughter Hayley, also shared our initial concerns, particularly as I am usually such an active jokey person but here I was, at a very low point. All of us have been through something we didn’t expect but we are all now looking forward and more positively than before.

Please do yourself a favour and read on…

In summer 2016, I went to my GP with a pain that was bothering me. It later transpired that pain wasn’t attached in any way to my Prostate but after a blood test, my GP advised that while everything else was in order, my PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) reading was 6.7. It should have been no higher than 0.2 and according to him, there could be a problem with my Prostate. At 62 years of age, I had quite frankly no idea what a prostate was, where it was and what it did.

I certainly do now!.

The first biopsies came back ‘negative’ for cancer. However, I’ll be eternally grateful to my doctor who, being unconvinced by this result, prescribed three-monthly blood tests to keep an eye on me. My PSA kept rising and in December 2017, with it now at 12.1, I had an MRI scan that showed ‘suspect areas’ in my prostate. Further biopsies were taken and this time I received a ‘positive’ cancer diagnosis.

In August 2018, having considered the options as to how my cancer should be treated, I had
robotic surgery to remove my prostate and spent just one night in hospital. After a few weeks I was back to work and grateful to hear my surgeon say the op had been successful. I will hopefully need no further treatment other than blood tests for 5 years to satisfy the specialists that my recovery continues. Personally I now feel great, physically and mentally and I’m enjoying life again.

Notably, I had none of the normal symptoms that point to Prostate Cancer, so that innocuous muscle pain that took me to my GP did me a huge favour. Can you afford ten minutes to have a blood test? Can you afford not to? It may save your life.

So why start a Prostate Cancer support group in D&G?

It’s quite simple. On the day I was diagnosed in early March 2018, myself, my wife and my children were all devastated and struggled to take the news in.

After two weeks, in desperation, I contacted a friend whom I knew had had prostate cancer and treatment. That afternoon, he kindly spoke to me for as long as I needed, after which I felt much more positive. He told me that as I’d been caught ‘early’ I could die with Prostate Cancer but not of it. That was such a powerful thing to hear. My ‘buddy’ on that day was Keiran McGovern and I’m delighted to say, he’s part of our group.

It’s frustrating that men often don’t discuss health matters with their GP or even with each other, as if doing so is a sign of weakness. It really isn’t!

I’m confident anyone attending our open sessions and talking with us ‘buddies’ will be impressed. No topic is out of bounds and we are all very candid about the diagnosis, the illness, any side effects and our personal experiences. We are proof that listening and talking to other sufferers really helps. It certainly works for me!

All our meetings are free and we will do all we can to help men (and their loved ones who are all invited) to come to terms with their diagnosis, consider their treatment options and put things in perspective. Come along!

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