Colin Craig – West Group Buddy
I was born in Stranraer in June 1962, the middle child with an older and younger sister and went to primary and secondary school in Newton Stewart. This was probably a waste of public money as I wanted to be a farmer from a young age and wasn’t too interested in school.
After leaving school, I spent probably the best year of my life at Oatridge Agricultural College, near Edinburgh, where I made some good lifelong friends.
On returning from college I farmed in partnership with my father until his retirement twenty years ago. I met Lynne in 1996, marrying her the following year and we have three children Mark 21, Jennifer 18 and Alistair 17. The boys work with me in Wigtownshire, farming beef and sheep, while Jennifer is teaching PE at Edinburgh University
My main passion in life is football. I played centre half for Wigtown and Bladnoch for many years with shorter stints at Tarff Rovers, Newton Stewart and Stranraer Reserves.
Life was going smoothly apart from the usual ‘hiccups’ till July 2016. I had been having to get up to use the toilet two or three times per night, so I made an appointment with my GP who did a blood test which showed my PSA was 41. Ideally it should be no more than 0.2. A biopsy three weeks later confirmed I had Prostate Cancer with a Gleason score of 9 and an MRI scan approximately six weeks after that confirmed the cancer had breached the capsule.
I was in complete shock when I received the diagnosis as I had always been extremely healthy and active, hardly going to the doctor and only going to hospital as a five year old, to have my tonsils removed. It was a very difficult time for the whole family as Mark had started agricultural college in September 2016 but had to defer for a year to come home and work on the farm while I was having treatment. Jennifer was about to start her Higher year and Alistair had just turned fourteen.
I started Chemotherapy in December 2016 at DGRI, having six rounds over eighteen weeks and although I was lucky not to lose my hair, it was very tiring. The chemo finished in March 2017 and in May 2017, I began four weeks of Radiotherapy at the Western General Hospital, Edinburgh.
Because of the distance involved I stayed at the Western’s residential Pentland Lodge from Monday to Thursday. Mark was at home looking after the farm at this time which was a huge responsibility for an eighteen year old and Lynne came to visit on Wednesdays which broke the week up and although being in Edinburgh and away from family and farm it was a totally alien experience, I found being with people going through the same treatment and experience very supportive.
I’ve been on three monthly hormone injections since September 2016. These make me very tired, more emotional and I have hot flushes. My PSA is checked every three months and as this has started to slightly increase again I have since March 2019, been taking hormone tablets in addition to the injections.
I am nonetheless very grateful I sought medical attention as soon as I started experiencing urinary symptoms and would urge everyone else to do the same as ignoring the symptoms won’t make them go away.