Peter Marks – West Group Buddy
Just turned 75, an Australian, I have had a rich and varied life.
This year, 2019, my wife and I celebrated our 50th Wedding Anniversary. We have a married daughter aged forty and although she would have liked a family, our son-in-law feels that being almost fifty, he may be too old to bring up a new baby, which perhaps is understandable. He has a daughter aged twenty from a previous relationship.
I am a retired chartered quantity surveyor, who worked in private practice, and also in the construction industry with George Wimpey and John Laing. My industrial career took me overseas, working in Jordan, Nigeria and Trinidad. In mid-career I changed direction and became a lecturer in higher education. I took early retirement in my early sixties, whilst working as a course director at Glasgow Caledonian University – with the best part of over four hundred students. This part of my working life led to me to further travel, including the United States, Malaysia, Slovakia and Oman. In my youth I loved playing squash and badminton. I was also a keen cyclist, covering much of southern England, the midlands and north Wales. I was also a keen youth hosteller and on two occasions I cycled up the A23 from Brighton to London in under 3 hours, not cycle racing, but with a good tail wind!
My wife and I love books, and the cinema. She also shares my love of classical music, a love which has also involved a great deal of travel.
For several years I was a guest speaker, talking about music on SAGA ships, cruising to the Baltic and Iceland. I am not a musician, although I have a degree in music and have given talks to various groups on the history and development of classical music. I currently run a local U3A music appreciation group – something I have done for over ten years, giving well over 100 musically illustrated talks.
In 2013, I became an ordained deacon in the Catholic Church, and am still active in a local parish.
Now to things medical:-
When originally diagnosed with prostate cancer, I was advised by both the specialist and my GP, that it was dormant, and unlikely to become a problem; apparently many people over 60 have it and most of those die with it, rather than of it.
All that was required was a routine six monthly PSA check to see that all was well. However, after about 3 to 4 years, my PSA rating began to rise and following a scan, I was advised that the cancer had progressed and treatment was necessary.
I was given several options for treatment, including radio therapy, and surgery to remove it completely and was fully advised of the pros and cons of having my prostate removed. Following research I learned that the survival rating was about the same on all the options; the only problems being that with some treatments, surgery, should the cancer recur, could not be a subsequent option.
As a result, I opted for radical surgery. The operation to remove my prostate was successful, including the removal of the surrounding lymph glands. Prior to my operation I was made aware of some of the post-op side effects which can, but don’t always, take a long time to overcome, although medication and other aids can be successful in some cases.
All in all, after nearly six years post removal of my prostate, I have no doubt that the decision to have it removed was inspired – especially when I realise that had it not been so, I would in all probability not be here now to tell the tale. – My advice is to live & go for it!!