In 2021, Raymond bravely shared his story as a part of our Stand Up For Your Prostate campaign.
Since then he has continued to support our campaigns taking a central role in our 2023 Stand Up for Your Prostate Campaign once again.
Read his full experience with prostate cancer below.
In 2021, Raymond bravely shared his story as a part of our Stand Up For Your Prostate campaign. Read his full experience with prostate cancer below.
Raymond is a family man, an accomplished international project manager, Keynote speaker and a published author. Raymond is someone who doesn’t shrink away from a challenge and is a self-proclaimed optimist, trying to find the good in all situations. This is a trait that would be tested when he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of prostate cancer in 2016, aged 53. He feels that his neurodiversity (Raymond was diagnosed with being both Autistic and Dyslexic) has helped him view the challenges he encounters in life through a non-neurotypical lens.
Always conscious of his wellbeing, once Raymond hit his late forties, he began getting regular blood tests and check-ups to maintain his health. One of these tests was a PSA test, designed to test for prostate-specific antigen’s in the blood.
In July 2016, Raymond’s test came back, showing elevated levels in his PSA tests. A subsequent internal examination showed nothing unusual. In December 2016, Raymond went for multiple biopsy’s, all of which came back clear despite his PSA level at that time reaching 20 (3.5 was normal for his age then). After the first biopsy, Raymond travelled to the UK the next day for work and soon after developed sepsis, a turn of events he says he is incredibly fortunate to have experienced.
“I flew out to the UK the next day” Raymond explains “because I was working overseas and got sepsis which, thankfully, I did. I say thankfully because that led me into about seven months of infections and being monitored closely.”
After close monitoring for several months and another biopsy, in July 2017, Raymond was diagnosed with an aggressive form of prostate cancer. Due to the nature of his diagnosis, Raymond’s treatment options were limited.
“They have a scale called the Gleason Score; the highest is 10 and I scored nine. Don’t think I had ever scored 9/10 in a test before ???? There wasn’t really an option, they had to get it out. That happened in October 2017.”
Due to early intervention, and the continuous monitoring of his bloods, Raymond was given a very hopeful prognosis. Raymond’s surgery went well and the cancer cells were removed, but not without cost.
After his procedure, Raymond was warned that he may experience some incontinence due to the compromised structure to his pelvic floor. However, he didn’t expect the side effects to be so severe.
“Post-surgery the urology nurses kept saying to me you’ll have leakage and you’ll have to wear incontinence pads and I said that’s grand, no problem. When I went back to them after my first month, I said: ‘You’ve seriously got to change the word leakage because to me that’s a drip, I’ve got a frigging tsunami!’ I know waddle along like Donald Duck wearing these nappies. He also has a very dark sense of humour which is evident in his book, Taking The Pi55 Out Of Cancer, available from Marie Keating Foundation website
Another by-product of Raymond’s procedure is a condition that affects many men after prostate cancer treatment, erectile disfunction or commonly referred to as ED. Raymond has been open about the fact that this side effect has affected his sexual relationship with his wife but acknowledges that the alternative could be far worse.
Raymond was diligent when it came to his health, and due to his understanding of his own body and his persistence when he felt something wasn’t right, he now has more time to spend with those he loves. Though his road to recovery has not been a simple one, Raymond says his cancer diagnosis and his subsequent treatment has made him the man he is today.
“Cancer is just another thread in the fabric that has woven me into who I am today because I believe everything in your life weaves you into who you become. The decisions I made when I was 30, I would not have made at 40, and at 50 I wouldn’t have made the same decisions as I did at 40; life is a permanent learning curve. I am not typically one of those who’ll collapse in the corner under the enormity of anything; I always try to look for a spark of light somewhere. I believe there is always a glimmer of light, you just have to search it out. However, that said darkness can be a comfort, it can allow the body and mind to shutdown momentarily whilst you recharge. We should never feel obliged to always talk about the positives for fear if you say anything negative it is frowned upon. Optimism bias is a real thing in today’s culture, the most important thing with a cancer diagnosis is to find a safe space with family/friends you trust where you can be open and talk about your fears, pain and the hurt the disease is causing you. Doctors may cure the body but the mind needs help too.”
Raymond has written three books with a fourth (book of poetry) due out later this year. His first book, entitled “Nothing’s So Bad It Couldn’t Be Worse” documents his journey with prostate cancer, why he dealt with it the way he did due to life experiences up to that point and the effect it has had on his family and his mental health. Raymond also suffered childhood sex abuse and this fed into his PTSD after his prostate surgery.
His second book, Taking The Pi55 Out Of Cancer was donated to the Marie Keating Foundation and can be purchased via our website. It is a dark humour look into a prostate cancer journey. Raymond best describes it as Ricky Gervais and Roddy Doyle having a conversation about the disease.
His third book, The Dark Side Of Silence was his first book of poetry and people like actor Jeremy Irons, senators David Norris and Lynn Ruane have recoded videos of themselves reading from the book. All profits from sales of book are donated to UNICEF Ireland.
To buy a copy of Raymond’s book, visit Amazon or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
To learn more about Raymond and stay up to date with his story, you can follow him on Twitter at @Aladinsane40 and on Instagram at fraudulent_poet