Advanced Cancer Spotlight: Sam
In this Spotlight series, we talk with community members about their diagnosis and treatment journeys. We also discuss what awareness means and what other folks diagnosed should know. Sam is a longtime community member and lives with stage IV prostate cancer.
What defines your outcome
I believe side effects are different for everyone. It doesn't matter whether it is early stage or late stage. Your age, health and pain tolerance probably makes the difference. I started my PC journey when I was 56 and I was healthy. I believe that your attitude has a lot to do with how you handle the side effects. After you get past the shock of being told you have cancer you must decide to fight through the pain and whatever you face. I wanted to live so I talked to God about it and started fighting like hell.
Getting the diagnosis and learning what it means
When I first was told I had cancer it was over the phone. Once I got my head together I started taking antidepressants because I didn't have time to feel sorry for myself. I found myself getting closer to God and it was time to get my things in order. Getting ready for the worse and hoping for the best. Also started sharing with other men and giving out literature. Getting them to get checked for prostate cancer. I learned about PC and told my doctor that I wanted to know everything good or bad. When telling my family, I just told them and then they wanted to know more about it and my diagnosis. I've never had a problem talking about it.
Finding hope and reasons to fight
Well, everyone is different. For me it is knowing God is going to take care of me whether I live or die and helping other Vietnam Veterans get their benefits for PC and raising money and giving my own money for PC research. It helps to take my mind off of my own problems. I also try to stay as active as I can but don't feel bad about myself when I can't be active. It has become a time of learning to change with the changes in my life.
What does Awareness Month mean?
September means the world to me. More than just being prostate cancer awareness month. It was around the first of September 14 years ago that a doctor told me that I had prostate cancer and later I found out it was aggressive. I have had stage 4 advance cancer sense 2007. I have had it in my lymph nodes and in the skull bones. I am and have fought the fight that the Marine Corps taught me. I have talked to God and He has carried through and still is carrying through my PC journey. God has kept my attitude good and I give Him all the praise.
With stage 4 advance aggressive prostate cancer my PSA dropped to 0.00 and has stayed there for 15 months now. When and if it comes back I will fight like hell and trust in God to take care of me whether I Live or Die. God didn't promise me that I wouldn't have fires to walk through in this life, but He promised me that He would be with me in the fires if I let Him. I started this journey when I had just turned 56 and now I'm 70, and I still get around pretty good. I may not be able to get cured of this cancer, but I can fight like hell. Trust in God and live each day. One day at a time.
May God bless you all in Jesus name.
Have you experienced side effects from androgen deprivation therapy (ADT)?