Prostate Cancer Changed My Life
The question was raised not long ago -- how did prostate cancer change your life?
Where do I begin?
The initial shock
First there was the initial shock of being told I had prostate cancer. Candidly I went through several weeks of disbelief and shock. Slowly reality returned as I came to grips with the fact that something needed to be done. Even after accepting the fact of a cancer diagnosis, it took months to truly internalize that I had a treatable disease that was caught early.
When you hear the words "you have cancer," your mind says that this is a death sentence. Old thoughts are hard to overcome, especially when you are on new path filled with unknowns. Would it be cured? Would it come back? Would I need to treat it again? How would it change my life? The questions and mind games were endless.
Asking what I could have done differently
Following my surgery in 2013, I kept blaming myself and asking:"What could I have done better?" I was going in for physicals on a regular basis. What I never understood and only discovered later was the average guy does not really understand that physicians are trained to react (diagnose) in a certain way.
Like it or not, most of the time you are offered a formula approach vs. having an MD sit down and carefully listen to you. Today MDs are pressed for time, and it appears that formula decision-making is rapidly replacing the much-needed and almost forgotten conversation time with a patient. While my charts and numbers were in the so-called “normal range,” what both he and I failed understand was that I was experiencing a gradual but ongoing escalation in my numbers.
Sharing my experience with others
It was at this point I founded the National Prostate Cancer Awareness Foundation. The mission was simple -- to inform men and their partners that it is important for men to not only be aware of the dangers of undiagnosed prostate cancer, but also to learn more about what your test numbers mean and to get yourself checked sooner rather than later by a urologist.
In 2018 my prostate cancer returned, and I learned that my next step was to undergo radiation. Again, I discovered not many people want to talk about radiation treatment and its impact. Almost overnight TheProstateCancerCoach came into being. The site features a daily video documentary of what it was like to personally undergo radiation and androgen deprivation therapy in the form of Lupron.
Raising awareness about prostate cancer
During my 8 years of living with prostate cancer, I have met people who refuse to speak about the disease. I have met men who refuse to be treated, as well was those are totally clueless and unaware they even have something called a prostate. I have met men who asked me if their wife or daughter or girlfriend will need prostate surgery as they get older.
So, what has changed in my life? Just about everything when it comes to educating men about the need to be involved in their personal health. To say the need to educate men has consumed me would be an understatement and, YES, prostate cancer has changed my life forever.
What was the most difficult part of your diagnosis?