With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts

- Eleanor Roosevelt

Gerry Bruen

Prostate cancer survivor since 2014

Gerry was diagnosed in September 2014 and had brachytherapy in early 2015. He is an insurance broker and was back in work four days after his procedure.

I got a bad chest infection and I am not great at going to the doctor but with the encouragement of my good wife I went down to have everything checked out. My PSA was up fractionally and after receiving advice from my urologist I decided to have a biopsy just in case.

When the result came in, I attended for my appointment expecting to hear, “Sorry for putting you through all that but it was best to be sure! “ Instead, he confirmed that I had cancer. Once he mentioned the word ‘cancer,’ I completely zoned out and couldn’t take anything in. It’s not a nice word but I realised I was extremely lucky as it was caught so early.

My wife is a pharmacist, but she is also an acupuncturist. She has been one of the therapists in the East Galway and Midlands Cancer Support Centre for over three years – I hadn’t realised I was going to be one of the people going through the doors. I did speak to some of the lads up there about my treatment options, and I did do some research but it was ultimately the urologist’s advice to have brachytherapy.

The first three months after having it done I was very tired. Physically it took a fair bit out of me initially. But I am self-employed so I had my procedure done on a Thursday and I was back in for a half day the following Monday. That was too soon really, the tiredness affects you in strange ways. I remember talking to a client and thank God I had written everything down because when he left I couldn’t remember anything that was said.

A few weeks ago I had a pain in my chest one day and ended up having to get to have a stent put in in one of my arteries. I had a major blockage . I caught that in time too so I consider myself a very lucky guy. I know I will be working for a good few more years but I have learned that there are more important things in life than work. There is the 5k run for the cancer support centre  coming up – I don’t think I have run since I was 16 or 17 but I have decided to do it and I am out training every evening. If you had asked me two or three years ago I would have told you I was too busy to do it, and besides that I wouldn’t have been able. But here I am.

What I would say to someone who has just receive a diagnosis is that they shouldn’t let the cancer define them – you are still you.

*Since then, Gerry has gone on to run the 2018 Dublin City Marathon and hopes to run the 40th Anniversary Dublin City Marathon in 2019.