From the Hart

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Over the last month, we have heard first hand accounts of Prostate Cancer. Peter Connock told us of his own experience, Martin and Kt Bruce talked to us as a couple and Charles Harkness described juggling a variety of ailments. In this article Mark Hart tells us how a family is affected by a diagnosis. 

I had a little conversation last night, with my dad Ray, just to explain what I was doing, but it doesn’t really resonate because he still doesn’t believe that it’s happening; good for him. Total one hundred percent denial, “I’ll be alright tomorrow, I may be bad today, but I’ll be alright tomorrow.”

Ray, Mark and June Hart

We’ve just had a busy weekend. We had the family round for Mothers’ Day, went out for a meal, trying to make everything as normal as possible, but it absolutely annihilates him, energywise, so he’ll be in bed now till probably Thursday. When I spoke to him, he wasn’t with it enough to be able to give any pearls of wisdom or guidance.

I also spoke to my friend who’s just been given the all clear from prostate cancer, to get his take on it, and to my uncle who’s just got over it as well. He’s my mother’s brother so I’ve got it on both sides of the family. I recently had the blood test and did just get the all clear this week. Now it’s going to be quite a routine of getting regular checks. As far as I know there’s nothing in place for men. You have to force it. You can ask your GP for a PSA test after the age of 50, but there needs to be greater awareness; especially for people with a family history, it doesn’t travel far.

My father was misdiagnosed all through the period of Covid; they told him he had sciatica. He had all of the symptoms, but because he’s also diabetic and was on water tablets, they said the emergency urination was the tablets and the pain was the sciatic nerve.

All of this was on the phone. By the time he physically got in to be looked at, he was diagnosed with Stage 4 prostate cancer. They did apologise for the misdiagnosis, but said it had metastasized into the bones, into the spine and there was nothing they could do. That was January 1 2022. It was an “Oops” moment. To them it was an “Oops”, but to everybody else it’s a little bit more than just an “Oops”.

Everybody in the ambulance service, every doctor, every nurse, have been brilliant, but they can only do so much, because the system only allows them to; it is overwhelmed.

June and Ray

To be perfectly honest it’s probably hit my mother, June, harder than my father. They’ve just had their fiftieth wedding anniversary and they are dedicated to each other, they are soulmates. She was the home builder and he was self-employed; she supported him throughout all of that. They’ve always been a unit. I was lucky enough to be raised in that perfect old-fashioned style family environment. I’m actually more concerned about her than him. She’s also looking after her 96-year- old mother in the same house. So she’s getting both barrels from either side.

We’ve had the opportunity to sit down and explain to him that he’s done everybody very well. He’s self-made, he’s always done what he’s wanted to do, he’s travelled. He raised kids well, he ran businesses well, he has no regrets. He has no malice in him, there’s no anger, no bitterness; just sadness at leaving my mother.

The target was to get him to July for their fiftieth and that came and went and then there was Christmas. And now we’ve got our Charity Casino Night in aid of prostate cancer.

He loves a party. My mum’s a huge Elvis fan, so he’ll be there too on the night. We don’t need to have a party, we chose to, as a little celebration. The support for cancer is great because of his situation, but he wouldn’t have cared, it could have been for a donkey sanctuary! He’s always been incredibly supportive when I used to put on events and this is no different. He’s trying to get tickets sold to everyone; he’s always been a salesman, it’s what he loves. Nothing will stop him from being there.

The Charity Casino Night in aid of Prostate Cancer is this Saturday, April 1 at The Brewery Yard Club, Landgate.

Image Credits: Olivers of Rye , Hart Family .

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1 COMMENT

  1. Well written and spoken from the heart Mark. We wish you all the best for your charity fund raiser tonight and all the best for your families future, no matter what it may bring. Your dad surly is a trooper and certainly a fighter. Along with you and your small family’s amazing support and your mums stout dedication to caring for Ray we know he would have had the best team on his side there ever could be. Love to all and have fun tonight . Love Edna and Kevin victory

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