There are many options on being diagnosed with prostate cancer, and definitely one size doesn’t fit all.

Gavin Hartford was diagnosed with prostate cancer around the same time as me in 2019. Within days, he and his wife took off on an amazing 27,000 kilometre road trip across West Africa. They simply left all thought of treatment behind in Johannesburg. Contrast this story with Paddy’s desire to just get the cancer out as quickly as possible, and my two week pre-treatment holiday on the Great Wall of China.

Here’s an opportunity to read a longer and more holistic account of one man’s prostate cancer journey than the blog post format normally allows. Gavin takes us through the back story of his journey, and the gritty truths that confront him once the Covid-19 pandemic forces an end to their trans-Africa odyssey. There is a rich cast of characters, from his travel experiences to the different rural and city doctors he encounters, to his own family and his personal inner journey.

We travel with him on a wide variety of bumpy roads. And I am grateful that he takes us into his confidence on his inner processes.

What strikes me is the vast range of both doctors and treatment options that are on offer if you choose to explore them. And the importance of gut feel in many men’s decision making processes. In the end many of make our decisions with head and heart – and some family input too.

Re-imagining manhood

Most powerful for me are the ways Gavin explores and expands his own identity and purpose as his journey unfolds:

My cancer has ushered in a new me. A new me that I am still learning to discover and to cherish and to love.

This kicks off some deep reflection on the opportunities for men to re-imagine our manhood after prostate cancer treatment. These can be new, creative and deeply satisfying for ourselves and our loved ones. Wanting to hear more? I encourage you to read the whole story of Gavin’s prostate cancer journey.

On a personal note, I would like to say that Gavin was one of the first readers who really embraced this Recovering Man blog, and reached out to let me know its impact. Thank you Gavin for your support and sharing!