About noon on Friday, December 9, 2016, my life took an abrupt turn. I can’t say it was a turn for the worse, but I will admit it was a defining point in my life. As with anybody, I had been through tough things before, but this was different. As the doctor nervously talked about things non-medical, I tried to be patient for him to get to the point and tell us the biopsy was fine and there were no problems. When he told us that I had a very aggressive tumor in my prostate, I figured that meant just watch it and keep exercising and eating right. When he further explained that I would need a scan right away, it began to sink in that this was something else, something I had to deal with right away. My wife and I were a numb couple as we left the office that day, clutching a book about prostate cancer that he gave me as I left.
In the next several hours we told family members, our congregation, and friends and coworkers our news. Within 45 minutes my guy Bill was at the door with a cup of Dunkin coffee. (He and I both believe that coffee helps everything!) Christina’s brother, Lou set out from Florida to come and be a rock of support for Christina and I. On Monday morning I called the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. This was uncharted water for us but Lou had even helped draw some of the charts, having been a physician at the very hospital we went to. He knew his way around “The Farber” and “The Brigham.”
One week after the diagnosis we spent the day, from early morning until evening at Dana Farber, meeting and getting examined by Dr. Kerry Kilbridge and getting scans, blood tests, and in general acclimating to a place that would be part of our lives for the next several months. I can’t say enough good things about that place. To a person everyone, from the doctors, nurses, lab people, scan techs, and receptionists…everyone was so kind and understanding and exuded an air of competence. I cared more about whether they were good or not rather than if they were nice or not. We got both!
Here we are a year later. I only need a blood test and checkup every three months now. I am pretty well and still improving. I am told it is a two year recovery from the surgery. I am working, bicycling, and taking trips, among other things that were put on hold for a few months.
This was one of the special things that greeted me 6 weeks after surgery. This was at our son’s house and the artwork was done by his children. Two hours before I had just found out that the first PSA was 0! A happy day indeed!
Today, my prayer is for those who are going through dark and difficult places in their lives. Perhaps it is a grim diagnosis, a broken relationship, a lost job or other kind of loss. I am a living testimony of God’s goodness and faithfulness. I refuse to live in fear and let cancer define my life. I am surrounded by wonderful people who are still praying for me.
My wonderful wife, Christina has faithfully stood by my side with absolute kindness and care, my children have been caring and helpful throughout this trial, Lou has been and continues to be my strength and sounding board (he speaks ‘Doctor-ese’), and the amazing team of professionals in Boston continue to watch me. It is so overwhelming to know that our church prays, friends pray, people in other parts of this country pray, and even in other countries, people are praying. If God could deliver me, He can deliver you!