From serving in the Vietnam War to getting through a prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment, 74-year-old Bernard ‘Bernie’ Maher has faced some of life’s biggest challenges. Through it all, he’s learned that staying positive can help get you through the toughest of times.
Bernie was first diagnosed with prostate cancer in July of 2019. He’d been complaining that he was having to go to the toilet very often throughout the night, and after blood tests found that his PSA was rising, he says “that’s when it clicked”.
“I was quite upset at first and had to come to terms with the fact that I’ve got prostate cancer and there is nothing I can do about it,” Bernie said.
After speaking with a surgeon, Bernie was given the option of surgery or radiation therapy to treat his prostate cancer. With concerns around his age and undergoing the surgery, Bernie took a few weeks to consider his choice before deciding on radiation therapy treatment at Icon Cancer Centre Rockingham.
“The most important reason was that this treatment could help me stick around for a bit longer. I said I’d love to see the Fremantle Dockers win their first premiership; they can’t guarantee that but hopefully I’ll get a card from the Queen!”
After having three gold seeds inserted into his prostate to ensure the radiation was delivered with precision accuracy, Bernie went on to receive 39 doses of radiation therapy over eight weeks and completed his treatment in November of last year. Receiving fast and accurate radiation therapy treatment close to home made a big difference.
“I live in Safety Bay and the Icon centre is a five minute drive down the road which was ideal, especially with free parking. The treatment only took about ten minutes each day. I would listen to music during treatment and would come back every day with new songs the team had to try and find. We had a lot of jokes and laughter; they thought I was a bit cheeky!”
He says that the support of the team at Icon Rockingham and his loved ones helped him overcome the physical and emotional impact of treatment.
“The staff at Icon made my journey very easy and took the worry off me. When I started to get very tired from my radiation, the team helped me get in touch with support services including an exercise program. I went twice a week for 16 weeks and still make sure to go for a walk with my dogs every day.”
“I really couldn’t have asked for more. I didn’t have any concerns and knew everyone, from the staff to my wife, daughter and granddaughter, had my back. If I got down, they would cheer me up. My 10-year-old granddaughter used to come around and make sure I was okay.”