The Vanishing Man of Steel
Looking back at my prostate cancer journey which began in January of 2013, I see now that it’s been a truly amazing but challenging trip. More importantly, I understand and now see that my role moving forward is to travel wherever this road takes me with all the twisting turns, valleys and the hills. Discovering that prostate cancer was not my fault helped a lot.
The road less traveled
Following the successful removal of my Gleason 9 prostate on April 15, 2013, there was an inner drive to learn more about this disease. There was also a burning desire to understand how this diagnosis impacts men and their loved ones. The first step in my journey was the founding of the National Prostate Cancer Awareness Foundation. As it turned out, it was through PCaAware that my involvement with several cancer organizations allowed me to focus and learn more.
My road of discovery allowed me to explore various research and treatment options along with learning about the need for support, and more. Yet all along it felt like something was missing.
Reaching out for support
The next step in the journey was to seek out involvement with local hospitals and meeting face-to-face with doctors and with men who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer or were about to undergo treatment. I met countless men who wanted to ask questions but who were too embarrassed or reluctant to ask.
Then came the questions that surfaced when least expected. They came from the emotional moments that bring you up short, and make you ask repeatedly: “Why am I here?” My prostate cancer diagnosis was sending a message that it was time to do something different. It was time to be more open and reach out to others.
We don't need to walk life alone
By asking: “Who can I count on when life hits me hard?” I came to the realization that most men often choose to walk life alone. While we may be married, hold impressive job titles, and have the perfect family, we don’t like to open about what really concerns us.
At some point, I began to understand that “macho” was just a shield to use when I meet others. In the end, no matter how hard we try...deep down we are not men of steel. Rather, we are just guys who need human contact and answers as we face this disease. It is the reason why I joined ProstateCancer.net.
Taking it further with accountability
Ask a man if he wants to join a cancer support group and almost all will say, “No thank you”. But ask a man if he wants to be part of an ongoing Accountability Group -- a place where men can meet face to face, speak confidentially and share concerns about prostate issues -- and sometimes the closed door opens ever so slightly.
If you think a local men’s Accountability Group might be an added benefit to you and others facing prostate cancer in your community, feel free to explore these suggestions.
- Start slow, perhaps with one man and develop trust over a cup of coffee.
- Reinforce the fact that confidentially is the key.
- Stay focused as to your purpose. This is not a sports chat time. Rather it’s about supporting each other on this special journey.
- Accept that the process will move slowly.
- Finally, understand that to be successful it will take a commitment by all involved.
If I can be of help to you feel free to reach out to me.
Dennis (ProstateCancer.net Team)
Have you made personal connections through your journey with prostate cancer?