Keith and Angela Benson's world was turned upside down late last year, after Keith was diagnosed with incurable prostate cancer. They tell us how they're adapting to new roles within their marriage as they cope with the difficult side effects of treatment, and why they're proud to be joining our March for Men in London.
I was getting bad back pain for a while but as a bus driver – I just thought it was part of the job. But in December last year, I decided to go to my doctor and he sent me for a PSA test. My PSA level was 62 and after a few hospital appointments, I was told I have aggressive, metastatic prostate cancer. It had spread to my pelvis, hip and spine and lymph nodes.
It is a big shock being told it's incurable, but I've now had five hormone injections and my PSA is staying stable. The side effects are sometimes hard to deal with: hot flushes, night sweats and being tired a lot of the time. I'm also on Denosumab for the bone cancer and have osteoporosis in my spine, as well as other health issues.
When I'm having a bad day, Angela will always pick me up
My wife, Angela, has been my tower of strength – even though this has been very hard for her as well. We both know this is a battle but we are a very strong couple and have had many a long chat about my illness. We've laughed and cried a lot, but we live for each other and are positive people. When I'm having a bad day, Angela will always pick me up.
Angela is doing the London March for Men with a dear friend and our friend's daughter as she wants to raise more awareness for prostate cancer. I am so very proud of her – she is my rock and soulmate. I'm hopeful I can go with them, if just to support them or walk if I'm up to it. I am not dying of cancer – we are living with it. Angela, my family and close friends are all very supportive and understanding and they all mean so much to me.
Since my husband was diagnosed, life has been turned upside down. But we both live for each other and have been able to talk about our way forward. We take positive steps, one day at a time, as we both have good and bad days.
Keith is now beginning a new chapter, where he helps me by being a good house husband and I help him by making his life more comfortable and as easy as possible. It’s very nice to come home from work and have dinner cooked ready! But more importantly, Keith only does what his body is telling him he can do and he can give himself more time.
I'm looking forward to the March For Men as I feel I’m doing something positive and hopefully making other people aware
We have three daughters and eight grandchildren, who we try to see when we can. It gets very tiring for long periods, so we try to keep them short but happy times. I value our time together and try to help make it easier for Keith, as I see how much he struggles sometimes. I'm so proud of him and nothing is too much that we can’t work together.
I'm looking forward to the March For Men in June as I feel I’m doing something positive and hopefully making other people aware of prostate cancer. It could be so much avoided if men knew about it and the PSA test – my husband would never be in this position if he had known more. I love him so much and yes, it is breaking my heart, but we must stay positive and fight to the end, living life to its full potential.
Sponsor Angela on her London March for Men now via her JustGiving page.