When I qualified as a dentist - forty-five years ago – and joined a dental practice, the then, senior partner advised me to get private medical health insurance. His rationale was that as a self-employed owner of a business, I needed to look after my health from the very start of my career. As matters transpired, I’m so relieved I heeded that wise advice.
I have attended The London Clinic for men’s health screening checks regularly. I’ve always considered it a wise investment and never more so than in the last eleven years.
A men’s health screening check routinely consists of a series of blood tests, well-being advice including diet, exercise, sexual health, and tests for hormonal, heart, kidney, liver, thyroid, and digestive functioning. After one such screening appointment, it was found from my blood test that the level of lymphocytes was rising. This remained the case for a further six years – had I not presented myself for diagnostic check-ups – I would have been ignorant of this fact. I didn’t feel unwell, and I didn’t have any symptoms. Although the saying goes, “Ignorance is bliss” I would argue against that. When you are self-employed, with dependants be that family, staff, or colleagues - you need to know what state of health you are in and manage matters accordingly.
In December 2017, I was admitted by my consultant, Professor John G Gribben, who specialises in haematological cancers including lymphomas, leukaemia, and bone marrow transplantation to the oncology ward at the Clinic with a diagnosis of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It was quite a Christmas and New Year to remember, and I stayed for a month and began chemotherapy treatment which continued for a further six months. I responded well, the lymphocyte level returned to normal, the only difference being that the three-monthly reviews would continue indefinitely.
Enter Covid, and another round of chemotherapy
Unfortunately, 18 months ago, after another routine health screening appointment it was found my lymphocyte levels had risen again, and I required another round of treatment. Ironically, fitness level-wise, I was in good shape and so this was an optimum time to have another round of chemotherapy.
Then fate took a turn. I contracted Covid probably due to the compromised condition of my immune system. Alongside all the expected symptoms of the virus, I also developed acute urinary retention.
Once again, I was admitted to the Clinic this time under the dual care of Professor Gribben and Mr Neil Barber, a consultant urological surgeon specialising in the treatment of benign prostate enlargement.
I underwent treatment for this performed by Mr Barber who specialises in the use of Aquablation - robotic surgery - to remove tissue to improve symptoms using the Aquabeam system. I responded well to this innovative and effective treatment but I simply couldn’t rally against the effects of the Covid virus.
I was becoming increasingly lethargic, and I lost my appetite to such a severe degree I lost two stones (12.7 kilos) in weight. Once again, I required intervention from The London Clinic and had to be admitted to be fed by a nasal gastric tube every five hours. This continued on discharge and, over the weeks, I gained weight and strength.
Back to my personal best
Within months I can honestly say I feel 300% better! My life is my own again to live just as I choose. I’ve received the most fantastic treatment at The London Clinic, not only from the top of their field consultants, nurses, porters, and housekeeping staff. If something isn’t right, you can rest assured it is put right!
I know that had I not had routine health screening at regular intervals over the decades, my condition wouldn’t have been picked up until it was either too late, or I may have been too weak to respond as well as I did to treatment. I would urge anyone in my position as a sole trader or business owner to invest in private medical insurance.
You can’t put a price on good health. And you haven’t got time to waste, when you need a blood test you need it there and then. Immediacy is worth the price. Prevention is better than cure. Isn’t it better to be physically ready and be enabled to plan for things on the horizon while you are in a fit state, able to cope and make decisions? It’s health screening that gives you those opportunities.