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If in doubt, check it out - Terry's cautionary tale

Terry Fennelly, Customer Service Supervisor at the Gibbs & Dandy Pudsey Branch has returned to work in January 2020 after enduring one of the most difficult times of his life. Just over six months before, Terry began to experience symptoms that initially filled him with fear. Despite the doubts, he decided to get it checked out. It’s a decision that ultimately saved his life.

He picks up the story…

“The 15th of May 2019 will always stick in my mind for two reasons. First of all, my beloved Leeds United played Derby County in the second leg of the play-off semi-finals, losing out after holding the advantage from the first leg. 

As I was leaving the ground and still trying to process the defeat, my mind wandered back to earlier that day, when I noticed that I had started to pass blood in my urine. It made me start to remember the advert showing a man noticing the same thing on a prostate cancer awareness clip.

It jolted me into action and the next day I made arrangements to see my GP. He in turn arranged for me to see a specialist and I was lucky enough to be booked in with Leeds Hospital’s top urology consultant Mr William Cross, who put me through a series of investigations.

My MRI scan showed a 10 mm nodule in one half of my prostate which then prompted the urologist to organise a biopsy, which is the only way to really tell if your detected matter is cancerous or not. On my next visit to see him, in is his usual pleasant but casual manner, he said “Right Terry, it is a bit of cancer as we thought, but we will sort it.”

As you can imagine it was a bit of a shock to the system and as I was trying to take it all in, he quickly moved to my treatment options.

My first option was a radical prostatectomy where the prostate is removed robotically. The second option is a treatment called brachytherapy where internal radiotherapy is fired into the prostate in the form of seeds and has a fast recovery rate.

The consultant advised that I should go for the removal as firing the radiotherapy seeds into a prostate with any infection would cause me immense problems.

My operation was arranged for 14th September 2019, with surgery taking about three and half hours followed by a planned recovery managed by the team assigned to look after me. Every week that passed saw a small improvement in the control of my bladder as I was given exercises to strengthen the muscles that had been damaged during operation.

With my next appointment with Mr Cross, came the news I had been desperate to here throughout this whole process.  He said “It’s good news, I have got rid of your cancer. There could be a one in three chance a small amount could need radiation, but again it has an excellent success rate.” Hearing those words, I can only compare it to what a large lottery win would feel like.

My news got even better with a letter from my consultant, which said: “I am pleased to report that your psa (blood reading for indication of prostate cancer) is unrecordable at less than 0.1ng/ml in addition your other blood tests have all returned to normal. This is excellent news, signed Mr William Cross.”

I returned to work on 25th November and immediately sat down with my manager Nik Beedham, who has been very supportive of the situation, to discuss my back to work plan.

Everyone at the branch has been great and my wife Ann has been amazing and a real rock throughout all of this. I now feel reassured for my future and it’s all thanks to the awareness campaign around this.

So, if you are experiencing any similar type of symptoms, don’t wait about, just get it checked out, it could save your life. It certainly did mine and I will be forever thankful that I got it checked out.