Patting the Shark

Tim Baker

Patting the Shark
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Patting the Shark

Tim Baker

Tim Baker was living the dream. A best-selling and award-winning surf writer with a beautiful family, a lifetime of exotic travel and a home walking distance to quality waves. That all changed on July 7, 2015, when he was diagnosed, out of the blue, with stage 4, metastatic prostate cancer. So began a descent into the debilitating world of aggressive cancer treatments and a fight for a survival as brutal as any big wave hold down.


Tim writes candidly and with a raw vulnerability about this perilous journey through chemotherapy, hormone therapy, radiation and surgery, and his own determined lifestyle strategies to maintain mind, body and spirit. Happily, surfing provided one of his most powerful forms of therapy, and writing about his experiences has proven deeply cathartic.

In 2020, 1.5 million men were diagnosed with prostate cancer globally and 375,000 lost their lives. In Australia, one in seven men will develop prostate cancer. Yet mainstream oncology concedes its ability to keep men with prostate cancer alive has outstripped its ability to manage the often-devastating side effects of treatment. Men with prostate cancer are living longer but with a steadily declining quality of life.

Patting the Shark documents Tim’s efforts to navigate his way through the maze of conventional and supportive therapies - meditation, diet, exercise, emotional support, counselling. Ultimately, it is a desperate plea for a more integrative approach to cancer care, treating the whole person and not just the cancer, allowing cancer patients a sense of empowerment and agency in charting their path through treatment.

This is a story about facing your mortality, staring down your fears, and working out what really matters in life, when so many elements of your identity are stripped away. It offers hope, comfort and empathy for anyone facing a cancer diagnosis and their loved ones.

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