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Survivor Stories - Jim's 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.