After 4 weeks post the operation I was more or less recovered. From a work perspective the bombshell came as the first phase of the library restructure was released changing the departments and spilling the positions of the existing managers to potentially apply for adjusted higher duty manager roles with a bit more responsibility. After a coupe of weeks of consultation and feedback the additional bombshell was to find that 3 of the existing managers were leaving and not taking up new roles. Initially it looked like all three were retiring but then within minutes of the announcement my manager announced that she had a new job at another institution to go to and was leaving almost immediately after almost 30 years at La Trobe.
In week 5 of recovery I still had another week before returning to work. However I used the reality of my wellness to come to work for half a day to attend a farewell luncheon for my department and for my manager, and to have an informal handover with my colleague who had been acting for me, and was about to go on long service leave, so would not be present when I returned to work the following week. Many people commented about how well I looked and how well recovered I seemed. The mixed blessing was being away from the work chaos during this first phase of restructure.
With a growing confidence in my recover the last weeks of recover were almost a taste of early retirement. Catching up with friends and family. Doing what I liked when I liked. Continuing with my video, youtube, and Netflix watching. I returned to swimming starting tentatively at a local pubic pool doing just a few laps. But then returning later in the week to work towards my pre operation usual swimming pattern.
I returned to work full time on April the 7th. The option was there, from an at call doctor’s certificate, to have a phased part time approach to return to work. However apart from low energy in the afternoons in the first couple of weeks I adapted back to full time work fairly well. The bonus factor on returning to work at this time was coming back at a time with a couple of shorter weeks due to the Easter break and ANZAC day public holidays.
Life goes on and I had my two month check up with my urologist. This was per-empted with a blood and urine test. Thankfully it was all clear. My PSA at zero and not issues. Having had the full prosectectomy there is no ongoing treatment, no radiation or chemo, just monitoring. My next check up is 6 months post surgery. The week before this I was confident enough to discontinue wearing incontinence pads. Quite an achievement and something post prostate surgery to be thankful of and not taken lightly. For many patients this continues to be an issue for a long period post-surgery.
On my urologists advice I returned, very tentatively at first, to bike riding. Given the location of the surgery this was deemed, by my doctors, to be the last thing to undertake. At least 10 weeks post surgery. My inaugural post-operative bike ride was on the 13th of April. This was awkward and felt a bit strange. However it went so well that I pushed it a bit too far and went for a longer ride the next day resulting in some back strain. Too much too soon. Slowly slowly. I attended some physiotherapy a couple of days later to get some advice, therapy, and strengthening exercises. A month later and I have invested in a new and more comfortable seat on my bike. I have also signed up with my daughter to do around the bay in October so a big fitness recovery to work towards.
So there you have it. My cancer and post cancer story so far. There is one ongoing issue which I won’t go into here but which is perfectly normal and a standard longer-term post prostatectomy issue. One to talk about at the Prostate Cancer Support Group. Of course too the additional bombshells, from a work perspective, was finding out, on the 3 month anniversary of my surgery, that my position at work is redundant. Still currently working through that at work so will not go into that here either. Also on the home front over this time period was the very sad death of a dearly loved pet cat. On a happier note, and a blog post next week, will be the story of the acquisition of a SAAB and the selling of the old Corolla.
It has been a remarkable journey. A testimony to my good fortune, faith, and support from my loving family and friends. Also a testimony to the good professional services that I have been privileged to have access to. And at this point in history, to the technology, and in a country and location where it is available, and to be in the position and stage in live where I could afford it, And to be in stable full time work where I had sick leave available and work colleague support during this period. I am blessed.