Stories from Our Prostate Cancer Warriors

Prostate cancer survivors cope with their diagnosis, treatment, and life in different ways. Below are some stories of survivors who found a purpose in sharing their experience and giving back to others.

Dave’s Survivor Story

In November of 1998 I went for my annual physical with my primary care physician. The digital rectal exam was fine, but a few days later he called an informed me that my PSA was 5.4 ng/ml. He suggested that I immediately see a urologist.

I made an immediate appointment with a physician at Mt. Carmel – West. This new doctor said that sometimes errors are made by the lab doing the work-up and suggested another blood test be sent to his lab. This was done and a few days later he called to tell me that, in fact, an error had occurred and that my PSA was 2.3 ng/ml. So, I naturally quit worrying about the matter.

Now comes another annual check-up in 1999. Once again, the digital exam was fine. However, again the report form my primary care physician came back with a PSA number of 5.6 ng/ml. Another trip to the same urologist and again we sent the blood work to his lab. This time they confirmed that my PSA was in the area of 5.6 ng/ml. Apparently, I did have prostate cancer!

This prompted a biopsy which confirmed the diagnosis and labeled my cancer as especially “aggressive”. I discussed the options with the urologist and was told that with my level of cancer, chemo and radiation would only put off the inevitable surgery! So, In January of 2000, I went in for radical prostate cancer surgery.

Upon awakening I was informed that the surgery was totally successful and that they had got all of it out and none had spread to any other organs…Hooray!

As for November, 2012, I am now 13 years into being cancer-free as far as prostate cancer is concerned. The point here is that continued testing is very important. If after the error I had decided to skip the testing in 1999, I would possibly and probably not be writing this little piece.

Paul’s Survivor Story

Our guest speaker for the 2018 Par For Life golf tournament was Paul T. Young. He is a retired Columbus Firefighter serving the city of Columbus for 32 years as a firefighter and Lieutenant. After retirement in 2012, he worked for 2 years as a fire dispatcher with MECC, the NE county townships fire and emergency dispatching center. He is the event coordinator for the minority retired firefighter organization, ORGnG that he ehlped found. He is a prostate cancer survivor and has become an advocate and a speaker for the cause. He presented his experience to the audience participating in the golf tournament. Young is a passionate and knowledgeable speaker and gives a “no holds barred” account of his journey from diagnosis to treatment to survivorship. He also uses his Facebook account to educate as many people as possible. COMAPC recognizes the value of having a survivor share his story and we are thankful to Mr. Young.

Jim’s Survivor Story

My prostate cancer adventure started with a physical exam in December, after my 57th birthday. I thought I had nailed my exam. My weight was as low as it had been in over 10 years; my cholesterol was about 160 and my blood pressure was 128/80. I was feeling good!

Then my doctor called with the results of my blood test. He told me he didn’t like the rate of change in my PSA number. At 3.2 the PSA test result wasn’t bad, but when compared to my previous baseline PSA he became concerned with the velocity rate of change, and scheduled an appointment with a urologist.

I wasn’t concerned. I thought I would be prescribed Flomax, because my prostate was probably just enlarged. The urologist told me that the numbers don’t give you a clear picture of what is going on, that you have to look at things on a cellular level. We talked about it and scheduled a biopsy for the next week. The biopsy results showed that I had stage 2 prostate cancer with a Gleason score of 7. At my age his advice was to either cut out the prostate or freeze it to eliminate the cancer cells. I elected to have cryoablation therapy, destroying the cancer cells by freezing them. Toward the end of January I had my surgery. Within one month my life had changed forever.

Since my surgery I have had 2 biopsies and both came back benign. My PSA is .05. After being diagnosed with cancer, I never thought I would be able to say that I am cancer free, having never gone through radiation or chemotherapy. My father died at 61. I have a wife and 2 daughters, 23 and 18. I did this for them. I am retiring at the end of July and plan on spending many years with the people that mean the most to me.

There are so many mixed messages in the press, downplaying the PSA testing. There needs to be more awareness about the disease, because most people are so naive. Guys don’t want to talk about it. They don’t want to know about it, or make decisions about it. When I encourage someone to be tested the natural response is, “I’m fine.” Most guys suffer in silence, but talking about it helps me deal with it. I’ll certainly be at the COMAPC golf outing and do whatever I can to help.

Do You Have A Survivor Story?

Do you have a survivor story to share and inspire other prostate cancer warriors?
Send it to us so we can post it here and encourage others in their battle.

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