Movember Community Spotlight: Ray
For Movember, ProstateCancer.net is highlighting community perspectives on men's health awareness. In our second interview, we talked with community member Ray about being a caregiver and receiving his own diagnosis. Ray's partner was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2005 and stage IV lung cancer in 2015. Ray was diagnosed with prostate cancer earlier this year.
Life changes as a caregiver
I was still working when we first received his diagnosis and had planned to work another year. I am a very protective person and I wanted for us to research the best treatment plan possible for him. After about five months I decided I should retire and give my partner the best care possible. That had been a little over two years ago and proved to be the right decision. I had enjoyed 36 years with one company. My partner first had six weeks of radiation that was followed by ten months of chemo. He then started immunotherapy and has been on Opdivo for eighteen months. He receives an infusion every two weeks.
Going where the support is
We had lived in Dallas, TX for 33 years. A year after my retirement we sold our home after it had been listed for only one day. We had met while living in Knoxville, TN in 1979. My partner has a son and daughter and seven grandchildren who live in Knoxville. I have a son and daughter who live in the Nashville, TN area. He wanted to relocate to be near his family. We bought a home in Knoxville in May of 2016. We moved into a new neighborhood and are truly blessed with good neighbors.
Second, third, and fourth opinions
In April of this year, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer, which was discovered during a Wellness visit with my primary care doctor. I have always been blessed with good health and at 68 years old, had never had to take any daily meds. After meeting with four different cancer doctors, I decided on hormone therapy along with proton therapy. Fortunately, there is a proton therapy center three miles from our home. Today I will have my 29th proton treatment and have 10 more to go after today. I have not had any side effects from proton treatments. On Wednesday I will also have my 4th monthly Lupron injection for the hormone therapy. I also have not had any side effects from the Lupron injections.
Determination after diagnosis
Many people’s reaction is “why me?” My reaction was more like “why not me!” I knew I was a strong enough person to fight this cancer. My main reaction and prayer was that I would be strong enough to continue to meet my partner’s needs while I took my own cancer treatments. His concerns were that he could help me in my journey, while we were both going to be in cancer treatments.
Remember that this journey can be a long one and to take care of yourself. I knew I had to be the most positive influence I could be for him. We as a couple have been able to walk this journey together. On Sunday, October 21st we will be able to celebrate 39 years together. Belief in God, prayer, and the support of family and friends has helped us take this journey.
Have you made personal connections through your journey with prostate cancer?