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hospital on the beach

Community Spotlight: Rick’s Reflections — Part II

Read about Rick’s diagnosis and treatment experience in Part I.

My (our) journey so far. A year ago last October my doctor noticed that I was losing a lot of weight — 140 pounds to 105. They did a blood test and my PSA was over 20. The urologist tests came back with a Gleason score 8. The oncologist and I decided on a conservative course of action — 8 weeks of radiation and hormone shots. My PSA has since dropped to 0.2. So far so good. Not remission, I call it a recession. My days are still numbered, but I just quit counting!

Finding my new way

My hardest challenge originally was accepting what has happened. My next one was trying to keep my sense of humor going. At least I have a good one, it has never let me down. There have been plenty more challenges, though.

I had no real place to live at the time. I was a surf bum in Hawaii, 30 years living on the beach and friend’s couches WAS fun. Trying to coordinate all of the appointments and transportation was trying, not to mention all the paperwork involved. I was never offered any counseling or help with the logistics, I felt horribly alone.

After my radiation treatments were done, my sister brought me to California so she could help me deal with it. I love my sister!! She had most of the doctor and insurance things handled before I got here. Though, it has not been easy trying to adjust to the climate and the faster pace of life here. Enough grumbling for now. (Joking, I wouldn’t waste my time).

How has my life changed?

My priorities have definitely changed. No more surfing has been the hardest part. I’ve started playing my guitar and painting more. After more than 50 years of doing art, I actually started taking a watercolor class, mostly to meet new people here. Looking for volunteer work to do. My perspective on life could possibly be useful to others.

Fatigue and depression are constant in my life now, although I’ve been working on my depression with my new psychologist. I’m bi-polar to begin with and my cancer diagnosis is surely not helping. Getting out and watching other people deal with what they THINK are problems is helpful and entertaining for me. Smiling. Even if it hurts to do, do it. MAKE it a habit, it will eventually become easier. If I talk about this to others. I make light of it, it would seem rude to drag others down with details. I get bored easily, so technically this is my new job (I’ve been “retired” since 1985) I guess. Telling as many people as I can to get a PSA test is a picker-upper for me. Plus laughing at myself hasn’t hurt either.

We’re in this together

Since all of us are going through similar things, I hope you found something in here that you identify with. If I only helped one person feel better with this, it will have been worth sitting here typing this with 2 fingers.

Aloha, Rick

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.