Every year, I went for my annual physical with my primary care physician. As part of the exam, I had a simple blood test looking for everything from high cholesterol to prostate cancer. I was in good health and wanted to keep it that way!
Then, just before Thanksgiving 2009, I got the call all men dread. My doctor called with the news that my Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) number had gone up. While my PSA was a 3 (and only increased by 1 point), the speed of the increase was of concern to my doctor.
I decided to see a urologist for a biopsy. The waiting is always the hardest part, but when the nurse called, she said I had prostate cancer.
I was truly scared. I had lots of questions and no answers. Would I live? What about incontinence? And impotence? This goes to the very essence of being a man! What about my wife? Would she be okay?
After my diagnosis in December 2009, people reached out to me providing resources, advice, and friendship. I read everything I could get my hands on. I wanted to know all my treatment options, side effects, and what to expect each step of the way.
That’s when I contacted the Arkansas Prostate Cancer Foundation. They provided me with helpful resources as well as access to a patient navigator to talk to. I attended a few Peer Network support groups that included men who were in the same situation as me. Yet, my greatest support came from my wife who walked every step of my cancer journey with me.
After educating myself and speaking with both my wife and my doctor, I decided to have surgery. I was still scared. Am I going to be okay? What will my body do after surgery? Will I be incontinent or impotent?
My surgery went well, and my surgeon removed all the cancer. And, to my great relief, I didn’t suffer any significant long-term side effects. For the next 60-75 days, I took it easy and followed my doctor’s orders. My best moment came when my doctor pronounced me as cancer free. I knew my wife was going to be okay and so was I. I was so relieved…and grateful.
Prostate cancer doesn’t have to be a death sentence. YOU can beat this! Early detection and screenings are the key. I encourage you to get an annual physical that includes a PSA test.
Men don’t like to talk about prostate cancer and its possible side effects. We think it’s embarrassing and will make us less of a “man”. Still, we must come out of the shadows and out of the dark. The more help we can provide men and their families, the better we will be. Your family needs you.
The Arkansas Prostate Cancer Foundation provides that help to men in Arkansas through free statewide education and screening programs, personal patient navigation services, support groups, and more. Will you please join me in making a gift to continue bringing these critical services to all men in the state?
Thank you, in advance, for your help and support. With your help and support, we save men’s lives.
P.S. Your support makes an impact on men and their families. By sending your gift of $20, $30, or $50, you’re helping men get the help they need to battle this disease…and win. Donate now.