Community Spotlight: Craig
After having prostate removal surgery in 2018, Craig Nieset discovered a passion for helping others and spreading the word about prostate cancer. He shares how he told his children about his diagnosis, how his life has changed since then, and who he has turned to for support.
The impact of prostate cancer
I was diagnosed on July 9, 2018, and had prostate removal surgery on August 23, 2018. I recovered very well, but it has made a life-changing impact on my life. It changes you mentally and physically as a person, and you will have to deal with it for the rest of your life. It not only affects me but my family as well.
Mentally you have to deal with the word "cancer." No one wants to hear that word or let alone think of what the future holds for them once they hear that word. Your mind just starts wandering: "What does this mean for me?" And you're dealing with the day-one emotion and the emotions that continue to come as you battle and beat this awful disease. There are many days and nights of crying and asking, "how do I handle this, and how do I get through it?"
Physically, you have to understand the options that are available to you to choose from. Wow is that overwhelming. I did many hours of research via the internet, doctors, other men that have gone through this horrible disease, and it was very informative but yet exhausting. Before the surgery, you are very concerned about how the surgery will turn out and what will be the outcomes. The unknown is the hardest part, but you just have to believe and understand that you can get through anything. There are things that you will definitely lose, and there are things that you could lose. But depending on how the surgery goes, you will regain them over time. Understanding the entire process is extremely important but definitely does not make it any easier.
Grateful for the support through the days, months, and years
I have adjusted very well over the last two years of recovery. The nerve-sparing surgery went really well, and I am grateful and thankful to the doctor and his staff for all they did during that five-hour surgery. There is still continued healing to this day, but I deal with it day-by-day and stay positive as we move forward.
As mentioned, I chose the prostate removal route due to my young age and the research I did. I did not want to go down the road of the different types of radiation and therapies, as I felt the removal was the best option for me to live a healthy and long life. I receive many forms of support from family and friends, and I am extremely thankful and grateful for everyone and everything they have done and continue to do to help me and my family out during this journey. It is not easy, but the support from all is definitely a huge help in getting through the many days, months, and years.
Being a father and prostate cancer survivor
It was the toughest thing to do, sitting down and telling the four kids. I had a hard time talking, so Jen handled the details. They are the best kids ever; they handled it like troopers and were extremely supportive. I could not have asked for better support!!
The advice I have is to be honest and upfront with them. They will all handle it in different ways, but they need to know the truth and have the opportunity to respond in their own way.
How fitness can help
I have a passion for coaching and helping others achieve their goals!! I love coaching cross country and track and field at any level!! I am a post-collegiate runner that has stayed with running since graduating from college in 1998. I have coached little kids, middle school, high school, college, and adult runners throughout my life journey of coaching to date.
Being physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually fit during 2018 when I was diagnosed with prostate cancer was a true blessing. My mother told me that God always gets you ready for what lies ahead, and this he definitely does. I was in the best shape of my life in 2018, and it helped me recover better than normal. I was back to my running in 6 weeks and started lifting weights again at 8 weeks post-surgery. The healing process for prostate removal surgery takes time, but things are going well and we continue to pray each day. I was ready for this and I took it head-on, not feeling sorry and just trying my best to stay positive and move forward.
The meaning of faith
God is the center of my Life. He guides me in all that I do. Without him, nothing is possible. I have a strong faith that allows me to handle and understand things in a relatively calm manner. It has helped me tremendously in this prostate cancer journey and has allowed me to reflect and ask for his love, help, and guidance. I love sharing my faith with others, and it has been a huge part of my journey for many years.
A passion for helping others and spreading the word
After my surgery, I truly had a calling to help share my story with others to help bring awareness to others about prostate cancer. I had been doing live videos on Facebook and Instagram for a couple of years prior to surgery and was used to doing those. As I mentioned earlier, God gets you ready for what lies ahead. I continued to do my live videos and share my story about prostate cancer. I started a Foundation called Shine Blue Foundation.
"The mission of Shine Blue Foundation is to help prevent as many prostate cancer-related deaths as possible by disseminating information about early detection and men’s health, offering empathy for those afflicted by this ubiquitous cancer, and donating time and money to facilitate research."1
It is still in the infant stages, but I am looking to move it forward to continue helping others understand this cancer better. If I can help one person find this cancer sooner, that allows them to live a healthier life, and I consider it a success.
Do you feel heard and understood by your doctor?