Alan Oliver was the face of our Christmas campaign last year, talking about how abiraterone had afforded him more time with his family and sharing his brilliant poem about prostate cancer. A year on, he tells us how his treatment is going now and unveils his latest poetic ode to keeping your spirits up.

8 Dec 2017

So, after five-and-a-half years of being on abiraterone and having a fairly stable PSA level, this year it began creeping up to the point where my consultant decided that it was time for chemotherapy. So far I have had three sessions and not had too many side effects, apart from tiredness and some hair loss.

It's so important to stay positive and focussed. This is why I decided to create my own version of the Sound of Music song 'My Favourite Things', which simply suggests that, when things are getting tough, it really does help to think of all the good things in your life. Obviously my version is personal to my own experiences, but people could make up their own personalised lyrics if they liked. It could be fun!

I must pay tribute to my wonderful family and friends, all the staff at Clatterbridge Cancer Centre on the Wirral, and not least of all Prostate Cancer UK, who work tirelessly towards their aim of eradicating prostate cancer as a killer disease.

I have had 11 years since my diagnosis, during which time my wife and I have been blessed with four amazing grandchildren. I can’t say how lucky I feel to have had so much quality time after a very bleak initial prognosis.

As I celebrate Christmas with my family, I will count my blessings and hope to share many more.

My Favourite Things (Not the Julie Andrews version)

Thick bacon toasties all smothered in sauces
Playing great golf on spectacular courses
Watching my team, the excitement that brings
These are a few of my favourite things
Quaffing Chianti with friends and relations
Travelling afar to exotic locations
Watching my grandchildren playing on swings
These are a few of my favourite things.

When I’m grumpy
When my prostate
Gets me feeling sad
I simply remember my favourite things
And then I don’t feel… so bad!

Warm apple crumble with lashings of custard
Back to the Future with Marty McBusted?
Getting the box set of Lord of the Rings
These are a few of my favourite things
Watching the sunset and dining al fresco
Buying my biscuits with vouchers from Tesco
Feeling the thrill of the first buds of spring
Might even be my most favourite thing.

When I’m frightened
When the chemo
Gets me feeling bad
I simply remember my favourite things
And then I don’t feel… so sad!

Taking the kids off to Disney, Orlando
All Abba songs but especially Fernando
Family occasions, the pleasure that brings
One of my absolute favourite things
Praying that one day we will find the answer
How to prevail and eliminate cancer
Life in the future without any strings
We can all dream of our favourite things.

When you’re tearful
When you’re fearful
When you’re unprepared
Just start to remember your favourite things
And then you won’t feel…so scared!

Alan Oliver's decoration

(Alan's 'Man of Men' Christmas decoration, with a message from his wife.)

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