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The Forum > Article Comments > 'Mr Kennelly, you have cancer ...' > Comments

'Mr Kennelly, you have cancer ...' : Comments

By Keith Kennelly, published 5/4/2007

Men pay little heed to their health until, that is, they encounter severe symptoms and a serious threat to life.

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Good on you, Kieth. I think the value of pieces such as this is inestimable. The words your doctor said to you regarding men's reluctance to present, encapsulate those of many in the medical profession. This is also the reason that preventative clinics similar to those set up for women regarding breast cancer, do not work well for men. Your bravery in publishing this article is a beacon of hope for men everywhere.

Women soon learn the necessary detatchment that helps to overcome modestly and embarrassment. Any lucky enough not to have encountered menstrual problems learn with their first pregnancy to start viewing their bodies as mere least during gynaecological examinations. Throughout the childbearing years the sheer awfulness of "assumming the position": legs spread, and their most private regions on display, can only be endured by disassociation of mind and body. Even after the child-bearing years problems with menopause ensure this continues for many.

The value of your sharing your experiences will not only demystify the process but encourage others that they are not alone. Well done, you.

Sharing this process with your son will probably turn out to be the biggest "positive" to come out of what could be a purely negative experience. Women, who share with each other their horrible experiences, also soon learn how invaluable support is and how it bonds them to best friends, mothers, sisters etc. with whom they share their worst moments.

By publishing you are also assurred of the hopes and encouragement of all who share this journey with you. You may be responsible for encouraging other men to present with symptoms before they are forced to endure what you are going through. You will certainly be helping many.

Excellently done. Good luck - you are doing a wonderful thing while going through everyone's worst nightmare. True bravery.
Posted by Romany, Thursday, 5 April 2007 11:10:08 AM
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So glad to read you story which so closely parallels my own experience. I was diagnosed with a cancer of the lower bowel just above the rectum in December 2004. I had chemo through a pic line and simultaneous daily radiation. Two months later it was surgery, and a temporary ileostomy bag which allowed the bowel to rest and recover. Four months later this was reversed and my bowel was reconnected. Six weeks later I returned to work.

Overall, it was an all-consuming experience, littered with a mulitude of emotions. At times I was angry, I despaired, I curled up and cried with self pity. But there was also deep sympathy with my fellow sufferers, most of whom had a bleaker future than I, or no future at all, and great admiration and thanks for the skills of the surgeon, anaesthetists, nurses and all involved in my treatment.

For me, the key to survival was understanding what was happening and doing exactly as I was told! Also, share it around - the care, support and sympathy generously given by relatives, friends and colleagues worked wonders for me.

Two years on I am contentedly retired, running daily as I aim for another marathon. Though I now have no rectum, I have what I was promised: a return to "90% bowel function". Apart from my scar, the only sign of my treatment is a need to go to the toilet usually 6-10 times each day, and occasionally have leakages and "bad days". (A couple of Imodium pills make this manageable if I expect to be away from a toilet). I can eat virtually anything without problems.

If you do end up with a permanent bag, be assured that it is quite manageable and even has advantages.

And yes, I am now impotent, owing to the damage caused to the nerves during an extensive operation in a very confined space. But I'm alive, clear of cancer, and enjoying an active, if celibate, retirement.

Please be in touch if I can help or if you want to compare notes.

Hang in there!!
Posted by AlanW, Thursday, 5 April 2007 4:36:33 PM
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Keith.. sorry to hear your news. Hope it resolves in your favor. I've been touched by it in my own family so I know almost first hand.

I found this in a leftis web blog about Tony Snow, Whitehouse spokesperson who also has Cancer.

[I don't care about Tony Snow. At all. And I'm not going to pretend I do just so I can prove a larger point to the wingnut base of racists and hate-mongers.

So no, I'm not going to pray for Tony Snow. I'm sorry to hear he has cancer, and that's about it. Other than that, I'm not going to give that lying scumbag another thought.]

I don't think many of us here would stoop to that level regarding those who disagree with us, and if we ever did, then I'd suggest they get a serious verbal flogging.

Cancer or any serious illness always brings us face to face with the utlimate realities of life. Just 3 hours ago I was reflecting back to my own wedding day, marriage and the birth of our 3 children. My daughter was in labor and struggling with the pangs of a large baby entering this world. Mum and baby are doing fine, the Dad looked a bit pale (I note he had a suck on the gas also).

I hope we will all consider our ultimate destinies. -one verse if I may...
"come to me all who labor and are weighed down, and I will give you rest" Matth 11:28
They are Jesus words to all. How anyone would not want to draw near to Christ Jesus is a source of on-going amazement to me.

Keith, I'm pretty sure you have some knowledge of the Bible, my prayer for you is that you will look beyond the text to the 'One' who it points to.
Get better soon.
Posted by BOAZ_David, Thursday, 5 April 2007 9:06:31 PM
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Thanks for sharing that with us, Keith. My Dad's approaching the end of his protracted battle with prostate cancer, and your forthright description of your experiences accords pretty much with what he's described to me.

While I tend to differ with your views on many things, I am utterly envious of your 35-foot yacht :)

You're certainly no Shakespeare, but you seem like a pretty good bloke :) Hang in there, mate.
Posted by CJ Morgan, Thursday, 5 April 2007 10:05:27 PM
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Enormously inspiring Keith.

Iíve always maintained a good exercise and dietary regime and have held the view that you should get anything checked out that is not right with your health, as soon as it manifests itself. Iíve lived up to that reasonably well.

I went through every imaginable test for a certain complaint. No answers have been found, and it is still with me some 15 years later at the age of 48.

Recently, new aches and pains led to more tests. The discomfort is very real, but there was no indication that anything is wrong!

The temptation is to just learn to live with the discomfort and stop bothering with doctors who just donít seem to have a clue. I must admit Iíve had fairly long periods of that, following the various tests that showed nothing wrong.

Anyway, I have just bought a new house on acreage and I am about to move in and start a new phase of my life. For some time I have intended that this will be a new start in which I take care of all the bogies that have gone unaddressed or poorly addressed, not least my health.

Now, thanks to you sharing your experiences on this forum, I absolutely resolve to put my health first and to not get in the slightest bit slack about it ever again.

Posted by Ludwig, Friday, 6 April 2007 2:55:17 PM
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Keith , Well you know i reckon you're good bloke, nuff said.
Posted by Rainier, Friday, 6 April 2007 9:17:46 PM
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