An Unlikely Candidate
My Uncle Dave was diagnosed with prostate cancer one year ago, when he was 35 years old. This is highly unlikely as the disease is usually associated with older men. Medically, over 90 percent of cases occur in men over 50 years and rarely in men below 45 years of age. Actually, the average age of diagnosis for this vicious disease is 70 years old. It therefore picked an unlikely candidate in my uncle, a young man who was hoping to lead a normal adult life.
The doctors explained that the infection anomaly or my uncle’s high affinity for the disease was maybe because he had acquired it genetically. This sent a chill in all the male members of our family and very soon we were all lining up for prostate checks in hospitals. As is always the case, no one else was found infected and it seems my uncle was chosen as the sacrificial lamb to carry the cross for the whole family’s genetic malfunction.
Treatable but incurable
My uncle’s diagnosis was carried out late because no one expected that he could have such a disease at his age. Despite experiencing symptoms for some time, my uncle had dismissed these physical anomalies as normal infections.
When the symptoms became serious, my uncle went for the test, but it was too late. The doctors thought that surgery would help and they ended up removing his entire prostate in the process. However, subsequent tests revealed that the cancer had spread beyond the prostate and hence the surgery did not remove the whole tumor.
Thereafter, my uncle was treated using various therapies but again the doctors claimed that the tumor had responded partially. The good news was that although the cancer could not be cured, its progress could be controlled using regular therapy sessions.
A broken man
After the doctors managed to suppress the spread of the tumor, they recommend that my uncle would have to attend regular chemotherapy sessions to control the spread of the tumor. After he was released from hospital, he lapsed into depression. He became withdrawn and there were reports that he was even suicidal. Once when I went to visit him after a recent chemotherapy treatment, I felt tears in my eyes when I saw how crestfallen he was. I could not blame him considering his pitiable life situation. My uncle had recently married, just before the diagnosis, and being very fond of children was looking forward to start a family with his wife.
Following the treatments he underwent, my uncle was now sterile and impotent. As he stretched his bony hand towards his deserted house, he claimed that his wife had left because he could not satisfy her. This was an allegation that I could neither accept nor refute although the wife had cited violence as her reason for leaving. My uncle continues to live alone with the help of a community nurse; he refuses admission to a care home or even to seek counseling in order to ease his situation.
Every time I visit him in his desolate compound, I am frustrated by his stubbornness but I am also angry at the cruel disease that shattered my uncle’s promising life.