Warrior or Survivor? My Outlook on Living With Prostate Cancer
I've been called a cancer survivor and a cancer thriver. I have also been called a warrior and any number of macho names that describe my journey with prostate cancer not once but twice. And if that was not enough, I had a run in with Stage ll non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and 6 months of chemo. And just to add a grace point, a case of COVID was also in the mix.
Not letting cancer define me
People marvel at my courage and applaud my amazing ability to beat cancer and other ailments many times. I silently think, yes this was not the kind of eventful year I had planned, but what other choice did I have? When your options are limited, you cross your fingers and pick one. Choosing the correct treatment for prostate cancer reminds me of playing the kids game of “pin the tail on the donkey” while blindfolded. You just hope for the best outcome.
With cancer you move ahead and endure the various treatments, or you beat your chest and announce to the world that we all die someday and pack your suitcase for the big move into eternity. Personally, I chose the former. And while life may not be exactly like it was before, I am living life every day fully. Mentally and emotionally I just think it is better not to allow cancer to define me. Basically I had a few run-ins with some really nasty stuff, and thank goodness medical science was there with lifesaving treatments.
Referring to myself as a survivor
In my various videos and articles, I have referred to myself as a two-time prostate cancer survivor. That only means I have been successfully treated two times. That is not a brag; it is just a fact. Currently I show no signs of an active disease. Yes, I also had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and was treated with 6 months of chemo. Again another fact out there that may help someone who may be facing a similar challenge.
Some readers here want to keep things private, while others want to chat with someone who walked the path before them. I am more than happy to share my experiences while noting we are not all the same, and we may react differently to various treatments. Other than some minor inconveniences I must say my body reacted well to treatments, and recovery was timely. So far, all is working. Just do not get me started on the joys of being on Lupron.
Being engaged with life
I spend my days actively engaged in life. While I no longer have the same level of endurance as before, I keep my mind and body active. In life we have choices, and it is up to each one of us to decide which paths to follow. Perhaps this is your chance to cut a new trail and find new adventures. Just a few years ago I never would have imagined running a foundation that helps men and their partners understand the many challenges prostate issues present. Yet here I am today.
I will be 79 this year and still bike 20+ miles several days a week. And while I enjoy the outdoors, those electric bikes are starting to have more appeal, as the hills have now grown larger in the past 3 years.
While annual post-op PSA testing reminds me I had cancer years ago, it also reminds me that I have been living a full life ever since my diagnoses. Yes, a few drops leak out when I sneeze on occasion, and that reminds me it's time to do more Kegel exercises.
Our outlooks on living with prostate cancer
As men we play many roles in life. We are protectors and providers, husbands, fathers, and sons. Some of us are warriors who put out fires in buildings, while others serving overseas keep watch to ensure we are safe while we sleep.
Yup I have had cancer. It is gone now, thanks to medical advancements and a lot of prayer. Perhaps now is the time for you to be you and stop letting cancer define who you are as a person today.
What is your outlook on living with prostate cancer?
What emotions have you experienced from your prostate cancer journey? (select all that apply)