I am a very happily retired guy who’s been enjoying the good life since October 26, 2010, when my wife and I retired from 37 years at The StarPhoenix. During my working career I started in the Composing Room producing advertisements for the newspaper in hot metal type – I was actually the last person at the SP using hot metal when we converted to what we called cold type in the mid-seventies.
During my 37 years I wrote regular columns in the Sports section on Volleyball, then Soccer and finally for the last 25 years of my time there, on technology. I still write a weekly column on technology which can be found on the SP website under Technology/Personal Technology. My writing was and remains a fun way to relax from the day-to-day life.
I’m 62 now, although my bride really considers me to have a mental age of about 18, but I believe it’s a man’s right to grow old and remain immature forever. When I retired, I had just lost my brother to cancer, and both of my parents in the several years before 2010. My dad had prostate cancer, although he managed to live more than 27 years with it by taking hormone therapy. At his death, his cancer had spread to his bones, lungs and brain, and although the cancer in his brain may have partially contributed to his death, prostate cancer wasn’t the reason for his death. Prostate cancer has been a constant Albatross around my neck for over thirty years – I have worried about getting it and my doctor and I have been careful to always do a physical exam every year and regular PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) tests.
None the less, I have prostate cancer.
The regular tests paid off and have probably saved my life, because after a series of events I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in January this year and had my prostate removed on April 29.
I am, so far, one of the lucky ones. My cancer was in its early stages and they were able to remover the Prostate and didn’t find any cancer outside of my Prostate. Many men aren’t so lucky and that’s why Prostate Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in men.
I’m writing about this because, although I’m a fairly well educated person and what I at least, consider to be open minded, I knew very little about prostate cancer. I knew in broad terms what it is, but not how the process of finding it and dealing with it works. I, like a lot men, pushed it to the back of my mind, even though I knew the odds were stacked against me in terms of developing it.
I want YOU to hear about it. Information is power, and more men need to talk about this. So that’s really the purpose of this blog; to talk about it and inform people. If one man reads this and feels compelled to get an exam then it’s done the job intended.
You’re going to hear MY experiences and thoughts, which are not necessarily the same as other men.
Everyone is different.
The key to getting through the journey is the love of your partner and family – they are the people who will prop you up when you’re discouraged and celebrate your accomplishments with you. If I can give any advice to anyone facing this – DO NOT TRY TO GO THROUGH IT ALONE. Embrace family and include them in everything. I am blessed with the love and support of a fantastic wife and son, loving and supportive relatives and wonderful friends who help me cope. Without them I would not be in the mental state I am today and you’d not be reading any of this.
I asked The StarPhoenix if they’d like to hear about my journey from a regular visit with implications, to meeting specialists, being diagnosed, having the surgery and my ongoing recovery. They liked the idea, and jumped onboard with commitments right away, so here we are.
So, for the next few months you’ll see regular updates from me on the journey – and it really is both a mental and physical journey I can assure you. Since this all happened to me early in 2013, it’s not completely up to date, but it is in terms of my progression through things.
I’ll catch you up from the beginning and you’ll be current with how things are progressing or not, with the whole thing culminating in a piece in The StarPhoenix to kick off Movember. I’m excited to be doing this and if it an any small way helps to bring the discussion on men’s health to the forefront then it’ll be well worth me giving up my privacy.
I hope you’ll follow along and I invite your comments, although since this is a pretty serious business I’m writing about, I hope that’s respected when you decide to comment. I’m not out of the woods yet and this disease might just end up killing me in the end, so please keep that in mind if you feel like taking a shot.
I’ll warn you right off the top that one of the major ways I personally deal with stress, frustration, depression, and discouragement is through humor. If I offend anyone – here’s the only apology you’ll get. I’ll tell you what I think are the funny bits, the depressing bits – in other words I decided that if I’m going to let you into my life, I owe it to men who might read this to be honest. I don’t think there’s enough of this type of information available about prostate cancer, and when it’s the most common form of cancer in men, with 3 of 7 getting it, and one of the top killers of men – then we all need to hear about is as much as we can.
Each blog will have a title – this one is obviously The Introduction. The next one you’ll see will be called The Fickle Finger of Fate.
AND AWAY WE GO!!