Advanced Cancer Spotlight: Cancer Hijacked My Life -- Part I
In part one of his story, community member Coachdestep talks about the first symptoms, getting the diagnosis, and his family’s reaction to the news.
In the spring of 2017, my father (Floyd Elvis Estep) and I were turkey hunting as we normally do in mid April. We were not hunting together and the weather was somewhat cold and rainy. I was hidden in some berry vines and using my turkey call hoping for a response. Following a long session of calling, I made my way slowly out of the berry patch. I noticed a tiny shortcut up the bank, but as I stepped up out of the road, I slipped and fell forward grasping the gun with both hands I landed on the gun and my upper chest. My head was snapped back and it took me a long while to recover and get to my feet.
Back pain and sleepless nights
About a month later, I had stayed up three consecutive nights in a row not able to sleep or rest in my bed due to this intense mid-back pain I was experiencing. The third night, I told my wife, Cristy that I was going to call into the Board of Education and go to the ER to get my back checked. I had not slept one second as all I could do was wrap a blanket around my shoulders hold it tight in the front and pace back and forth from one end of our house to the other.
Cristy asked me if I wanted her to join me on the trip to the ER and I told her no because all they would probably do was feel around on my back and send me home with some pain medicine.
Upon arriving at Cabell Huntington Hospital, the doctor ordered a CT Scan after hearing my tale about falling during the spring gobbler turkey hunt.
What could be worse than a broken back...
I waited, and waited, and waited about 2 hours or so later the doctor came back escorted by a couple other professional looking people. He said, "Mr. Estep, after looking at your CT we are no longer worried about your fall or your back. Mr. Estep, I am a straight shooter!" I looked at him wondering what could be worse than a broken back, "Good I like hearing the facts straight up!"
The doctor gazed down at the CT results and said, "Mr. Estep, see all these white places on your bones, you are ate up with cancer and we think it started in your prostate, but we will have to perform additional tests!"
I figure at this point my face turned as white as a sheet of printing paper. As the doctors departed the ER room, I called my wife to give her this unbelievable news. She answered and asked what was taking them so long with my tests. I replied, "Cris, I have cancer!" I started to tear up as I spoke on the phone. "They say I am going straight away up stairs for further testing." By this time she was also crying over the phone and telling me she would be there straight away.
The doctors acted quickly as I was moved to a room and everything got underway concerning the cancer. I was informed I would have to have a biopsy of the prostate by Dr. James Jensen, urology oncology. I would also have to submit to a complete bone scan. As they started to work their doctor skills, my family started to arrive at the hospital.
Cristy came directly over to me and hugged me so tight telling me how much she loved me. My daughter, Hilary and her daughter, Kennedi Pearl along with my sons, Shane and Nick had also made their way to my room. Soon to be followed by my father, Floyd Elvis and his wife, my step-mother Lucy and her sister, Doris. We were all in a state of shock, denial, and disbelief.
Interestingly enough my father had been suffering from Advanced Prostate Cancer with bone metastasis since 2007. He took all his treatment at the VA Hospital located just outside Huntington, West Virginia. The first 4 years or so, my Dad did not seek any medical treatment as he was relying wholly on The Lord Jesus Christ for a complete healing.
Hearing the dreaded news
One of the oncologist came to see us later that evening, asking if I wanted to clear the room and I quickly replied, "No you can tell me anything you need to in front of these people who are my family!"
"Well, Mr. Estep is indeed cancer and yes it is prostate cancer. Your PSA is currently 987 and appearing to be rising," the doctor reported. "We are going to start you right away on Casodex."
Read the full series from coachdestep:
Who did you talk to first about prostate cancer after your diagnosis?