Colin Hart: Beating Prostate Cancer

Collin Hart is one of the most optimistic and cheerful 69 year olds you are ever likely to meet. Yet he has been battling serious illness and debilitating arthritic pain most of his life. When you hear his story, you will know that we all have some big lessons to learn from Collin.

His first surgery was when  he  was  20 when  doctors  had  to operate  on  his  ankle  to  give his  fixed foot  some  minimal mobility. If  you  would  have  been  with Collin  in  2003,  you  would  have  seen  him  in  hospital, he  had  some  of  his eyesight,  he  had  lost  a finger,  he  was  confined  to  a wheelchair,  unable  to  walk because  of  the  two  hip replacements  he  needed and  you  would  have  seen huge,  open,  weeping  and incredibly  painful  venous ulcers  on  his  legs. Depression and hopelessness were written on his face.  He was asking himself if it was worth carrying on.

The  doctors  operated  for one  hip  replacement  in  2006  and  the  second  in 2007,  but  Collin  says,  “My spirit  had  been  battered  by the  years  confined  to  a wheelchair.  I  was depressed  and  I  was putting  on  massive amounts  of  weight. I felt hopeless.”

“And  then  one  day  a  nurse told  me  to  stand  on  the scales.  And  that  was  the moment  it  hit  me  –  and  it hit  me  hard.  I was an incredible 170 kegs!  She asked  if  I  wanted  to  do anything  about  it  –  of course  I  did!”

“This  was  to  be  the  turning point  of  my  life  –  I  changed my  eating  habits  and  slowly started  exercising.  The  life- saver  was  the  swimming pool  where  I  could  exercise without  taking  a  toll  on  my hips  and  other  joints  and  bones.”  Collin was incredibly dedicated and single minded.  So  much  so,  that he  attracted  a  great  deal  of media  attention  as  he battled  the  weight  with active  aerobics  in  Southport pool.

“This  is  when  I  decided  to change  the  direction  of  my life”  says  Collin. “All  that support  I  got  really  touched me  and  so  I  decided  to  give back  to  help  the  community that  had  helped  me,  and  I was  determined  to  help  the community  to  change”.

I had one talent – I could communicate.  I  can  talk,  I talk  to  everybody,  I  love  it. So I decided to help by communication.  My message  is  simple  –  don’t wait  around  for  things  to change  or  wait  for  a  hand- out  or  complain  about  how  bad  things  are  for  you  –  do something,  change  things yourself.  That  applies  to everything  –  getting  a  job  or getting  yourself  healthy  like  I did.“

Collin  made  a  proposal  to the  Active  and  Healthy programme  run  by  Council to  help  distribute information  about  them  at exhibitions  and  shopping centres.  Now he is an Ambassador for the Council’s Active & Healthy programme.  He was nominated for the Australia Day Awards for his contribution to the programme.  On  top  of  that, Collin  gives  talks  and lectures  motivating  both youngsters  and  older  people in  the  Gold  Coast.

You  might  think  that  all  is now  well  and  there  is  a  “happy  ever  after”  ending.  But not so. Collin  was  diagnosed  with  prostate cancer,  with  skin  cancer  and  with  a very  rare  condition  that  is  popularly known  as  the  flesh-eating  disease.

About  the  prostate  cancer,  Collin  says, “I  was  pretty  sure  myself  that something  was  seriously  wrong.  I  was having  to  wake  up  four,  five  times  a night  to  go  to  the  toilet,  so  I  took myself  to  the  doctors.  They confirmed the prostate cancer after some tests. But  you  know  what  “  said  Collin, “Because  of  everything  else  I  had been  through,  this  was  not  really  a  big shock  and  I  didn’t  stop  functioning  or anything.  I just figured out what had to be done.”

For  the  prostate  cancer,  “I  think  I  was one  of  the  first  patients  at  the  new unit  that  Radiation  Oncology Queensland  has  at  the  new  Gold Coast  Hospital.  They  explained  to  me what  they  do  and  what  was  possible and  the  risks  and  so  on.  It  sounded  worthwhile  to  me  and  so  I  went  ahead with  the  treatment.

Collin started radiation treatment in September of 2014.  “Altogether I think there were 39 treatments.  I  had  to  go in  about  four  to  five  times  a  week,” says  Collin.  There  is  no  feeling  when you  are  actually  getting  the  treatment, but  afterwards,  although  each  time  is different,  there  can  be  discomfort  and bleeding.”

“But it was all worth it.  I  feel  great,  I don’t  have  the  prostate  discomfort and  I  don’t  get  up  at  night  as  often  as  I  used  to.” Collin  is  back  doing  what  he  loves  –  that  is  spreading  the  word  to  be positive  and  to  live  life.  He  always  has a  big  smile  on  his  face  and  this  great ability  to  make  you  laugh  –  he  can cheer  up  your  day  any  time  of  day.

Now isn’t that a remarkable gift?

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