I have just gotten back from a meeting of the Box Hill Prostate Cancer Support Group. There were about thirty blokes sitting around the table (kudos to Box Hill RSL for hosting the meeting – free parking, too!). The main group meeting began with a checking in sort of exercise in which everyone said how they were travelling. Introducing myself to a group used to really put the wind up me, but it went fine today, it being a laid back and supportive bunch. There was then some discussion about treatment-related stuff (trials in which various group members are participating), a run down of web and other resources, and a mention of a former group member who has gone into care. Approval was sought and received to make a donation to Peter Mac, where the meeting then adjourned to hear presentations and hand over the cheque. A quick toilet stop beforehand was enthusiastically patronised!
The presentations comprised an explanation of radiotherapy, an overview of new developments in prostate cancer treatment (some of which are still in the trial phase), and a talk about erectile dysfunction. The last of these was from a live-wire lady with a charming Glasgow accent from Peter Mac in Parkville. She was invited to give a talk to our group, which she accepted readily. Everything was most interesting, and all the presenters got plenty of questions (for me, a sign of a successful gig). I took six pages of notes. The opportunity to get across some current treatment stuff was extremely timely for me as we are seeing Jeremy on 28th, when “so what happens next?” will be addressed.
Everyone I chatted to was very friendly, and I was invited to lunch afterwards. I had to decline this time, having stuff to do, and hours of information to absorb. I will definitely go to the next meeting, though, which will be the Christmas one, and look forward to hearing some war stories over a meal. As I said to the group leader, the only reason I wouldn’t be there is if I was having treatment. The very fact that everyone has been through the cancer mill (albeit some along different treatment pathways to mine) meant that there was an effortless and immediate understanding. The meeting made me realise that, in spite of everyone’s best efforts, love and concern, cancer can be very isolating. A group like this can break through that, probably like nothing else.