Rotorua's Robert Young has been given four to seven years to live but he says it's not all doom and gloom.
The 69-year-old, who has directed many productions in Rotorua including the upcoming Rotorua Boys' High School production of Jesus Christ Superstar, has terminal cancer.
"Cancer doesn't choose age or gender. It just attacks the body - but I'm not done yet."
He was diagnosed with prostate cancer a few months after making the city his home in 2010.
Mr Young moved to Rotorua in March 2010 from the Gold Coast where he had lived for 20 years.
It was not long after he realised something was wrong.
"I just wasn't feeling well in myself. I got up a lot in the night to go to the loo."
He had two blood tests and a biopsy and was told he had prostate cancer.
"You go into shock when you are told."
After losing his sister to melanoma and his grandfather to prostate cancer, Mr Young said from the age of 40 he had been vigilant about having annual check-ups.
He'd only had a blood test about six months before he was diagnosed with prostate cancer which showed nothing unusual.
Mr Young's cancer was so advanced he had to have his prostate removed. He said the operation at Tauranga Hospital went well but there were some complications and he returned to Tauranga Hospital before being transferred to Rotorua Hospital.
Doctors told him they thought they had got all the cancer and Mr Young was in remission.
Nine months later he started to feel unwell again.
"I started to feel like a bag full of s*** to put it bluntly."
He visited his GP who asked him how his follow-up appointments had gone.
"I said 'what follow-up'?".
Mr Young said his files had been misplaced although he's not wanting to lay blame on anyone.
Another blood test revealed his cancer had returned and he was immediately put on medication.
"They put me on to a hormone treatment that they inject into my stomach. So that officially put me into menopause. I was irritable, had the sweats, depression and temperature swings."
He said his arthritis also flared up as a result of the medication.
He has cancer in his pelvis and lymph nodes and is waiting for another test later this year to find out if it has spread anywhere else. Although they can't be certain, doctors have told him he has another four to seven years left.
Mr Young has still managed to direct three productions this year but after he is finished with his latest production he plans to take a break for the rest of the year.
He only missed one rehearsal during Rotorua Musical Theatre's Miss Saigon and one during Jesus Christ Superstar.
"They were bad days, vomiting and all that. Cancer robs you of energy. On a positive note it very quickly defines what is important in life and what's not... One gets very impatient with trivia. I think each day is a miracle now."
Although directing Jesus Christ Superstar has been rewarding, he admits it has also been emotional.
"It has been difficult because God is so important in my life."
He wanted to go public with his cancer battle in the hope it would encourage men to get regular check-ups as too many men put off going to see their doctor.
"I wasn't one of them but I still got caught out."
See B1 for a feature about the history of theatre productions at Rotorua Boys' High School.
- Blue September is the Prostate Cancer Foundation's national awareness campaign.
- Every year over 500 men die in New Zealand of prostate cancer. This happens because men don't know how dangerous the disease is, they don't talk to their doctor about it, they simply don't do anything about it.
- For more details about how you can get involved in Blue September log on to www.blueseptember.org.nz