“It makes such a difference to know you have someone there ready to listen and able to help.”
Today marks the beginning of Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, which remains the most commonly diagnosed cancer amongst men in Northern Ireland. The charity very proudly funds posts for two prostate cancer specialist nurses, Shelley & Alison, who are on hand to provide vital care and support at all stages of diagnosis, treatment and into survivorship.
Robbie Holmes, 58, from Newry was diagnosed with prostate cancer just over a year ago, and has been receiving support from our prostate cancer specialist nurses ever since.
“I had a Gleeson score of 9 when I was diagnosed, meaning that my cancer was very aggressive and had already progressed to the edge of the prostate. Unfortunately this meant it was too late for me to have surgery, so I started on Radiotherapy treatment last November, and I am continuing with injections for the next two years.
“Going through cancer treatment during lockdown, remote support via email or phone has been really important, and Shelley & Alison have provided just that for me. Often you forget all that you have been told on a visit to the hospital, so it’s good to have a friendly point of contact that knows who you are, knows your medical condition, and can offer honest and practical advice.
“I have been attending the cancer centre at Belfast City Hospital for the last 7 years for consultations with my wife who has Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia, so it was a surreal day this time last year as we both attended together for our relative appointments.
“This is why I am so very appreciative of having a friendly professional who has experience in this field, who is understanding and able to answer my questions no matter how trivial or how serious. I have my doctors, nurses, consultants, and they are absolutely great, but then I have another friend who I can ask a silly question, or a question I forgot, or a question I was a bit afraid to ask.
“Living with cancer on life’s journey is very difficult, but like all journeys it is made easier when you have a friend who will walk with you, a silent partner ready to help on those difficult days and it makes such a difference to know you have someone there ready to listen and able to help.”