Her sexuality was her life. And then Martin got cancer. Not just any: prostate cancer. From one day to the next, everything changed, collapsed. So much so that he now feels invested with a “mission”: to warn men of the importance of screening. Prevention. In short, information. Interview.
But first, a clarification. The story of Martin, 51 years old and an artist by profession, is obviously not limited to his cancer, diagnosed three years ago. “Everything is interesting,” said the smiling fifty-year-old, without the slightest false modesty. Everything is out of the ordinary! “Starting with its look, or rather its shape. Let’s just say he would have been easily looked 20 years younger. It gives you an idea of the character, frank, direct and colorful, who was otherwise bullied in his youth, because “effeminate”, “plump, with pins and buttons”. “Yes, we are far from that time,” he concedes with a laugh, one sunny Wednesday afternoon, seated in front of a healthy salad, in a small café in the northern crown.
Very young, Martin knows that he likes boys. Those around him also say they “always knew” when he came out, around the age of 17.
Allow us to quickly pass on his adolescence, difficult, with little or no self-confidence, his first experience with a girl (“when you are 17, you are turned on by everything!”), then his first “taponages with a guy I met one evening in a bar in the Village. “It really proved to me that this is what I wanted…”
Quietly, as his body becomes “the center of [his] universe” in his early twenties, Martin becomes aware of its charms. “My desire has always been to have a boyfriend,” he says. However, between the ages of 20 and 40, her life is more like a “porn movie”.
He builds himself a “role of seducer”: “every gesture, every word is thought out”, a smile and voila, he brings someone home. “I went out five nights a week, and each time I came back with someone different. »
True, he still dreams of a lover (“I want to get married!”), but all it takes is a “crooked tooth” to “eliminate someone”. And at the same time, Martin is having fun. Not halfway. He even discovered his “exhibitionist nudist” side during an outing with friends at the Sainte-Marguerite-du-Lac-Masson falls (to which access is now prohibited): “My God, what a feeling of extraordinary freedom, says- he. Everyone should do nudism in their life, there would be no more war! »
This is also where his pleasure of being naked in front of clothed people comes from, and his power to thus “raise the party” (no pun intended). “A power I abused,” he said, smiling knowingly. He also danced at this time (in his thirties) naked in private parties: “I have fun, I am assumed, muscular, I have good friends. […] These are beautiful parties, very beautiful parties…”
We half understand that he seizes here all the power of his erections.
Nevertheless, for all sorts of reasons, at the turn of the forties, Martin decides to settle down and tries the experience of the couple. The case lasts three years, and it is after a painful breakup that Martin loses his mother as a bonus. “I had a close relationship,” he says, and his illness is a real shock. Worse: his death a year later is an “unbearable nightmare”. “That was my first bereavement. “It is unfortunately not the last.
It is indeed shortly after that his diagnosis falls, quite by chance, while doing a usual blood test with a new doctor. “I asked for a PSA [prostate-specific antigen, or APS in French] test, normally we do that at 50, but I have a hypochondriac friend who advised me to do it. And today, Martin in turn recommends it to all men of his age. Because since then, he has seen his life crumble.
First test, “You’re young, fit, he thinks, it’s probably nothing.” He is 48 years old and is effectively “on fire”. A second test and a biopsy later (“traumatic episode”), it’s official. “I have bad news,” confirms the urologist, asking him “right there” to choose his treatment. “But I am in deep shock!” »
We would be unless: the day before, he had “the best sex of [his] life” with his roommate of the moment, and there, he hears that we will try to “preserve his two erectile nerves”? “There’s no guarantee, basically there’s a 50/50 chance that I’m not correct. And a chance in two that Viagra will work on me…” It should be noted that his case is so advanced (stage 3) that other treatments (radiotherapy, hormone therapy) are not options. Ah yes, and he will never ejaculate again and risk suffering from incontinence, at least for a while.
You are spared the appointments, the operation and his subsequent depression, all this in the midst of a pandemic. “It was terrible,” Martin confirms, his eyes suddenly watering. What a nightmare ! I have no more strength, I am terrified and empty. I collapse. »
It was three years ago. One therapy later, and how much research, waiting, Kegel exercises, more waiting, and treatments of all kinds (and how many thousands of dollars!), he remains hopeful. He should soon have access to injections. He is no longer incontinent and if he has not recovered 100% of his erections, his situation is improving. “And I can see that it’s me that bothers me more than the others…”, he drops. He hasn’t lost any of his feelings.
If he wanted to testify here, it was to sound the alarm: “go see your doctors, have your PSAs,” he insists. When will there be psychological support for men struggling with such cancer, groups of men to discuss their experience, accessible information on possible treatments? “I so wish someone had shared this with me…”
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in Canada. It is estimated that one in eight Canadians will develop such cancer in their lifetime and one in 29 will die from it. Risk factors are: age, family history, ethnicity, obesity, and certain genetic mutations. If your risk is high, talk to your doctor at age 45. Otherwise, from 50 years old.