I Have Prostate Cancer, Now What?
Most of the men that I know are the same. We work hard, we focus on our families, jobs, and our hobbies. We do what needs to get done, we fix things, we come up with solutions, and we protect the ones we love. The other common thread is that we almost always, without fail, forget to take care of ourselves. We believe we are invincible; we don’t get sick and when we do, we shake it off. We put a band-aid on it and move on, but is that really the best way for us to live our lives? How are we supposed to do the things that we have always done to provide and care for our families if we do not take care of ourselves?
Several years ago, I realized I wanted to be a healthier version of myself, so I began to focus more on my own health. I didn’t want to be in a position where I couldn’t do something because it was too physically demanding, and I just didn’t have it in me to take the longer trail. I was in my early forties when I decided to start focusing more on my own health and wellness. As I get older (I’m currently 54!), there is an even stronger desire to remain healthy, active and to continue being a participant in life and not just an observer.
This is how I have been living my life for the past decade, focused on overall physical health and controlling all that I could to be the best version of myself. To ensure that I am healthy inside and out, I participate in Isaac Heating & Air Conditioning’s annual wellness program, and I have a complete blood test and annual physical done every 12 months. This allows me to stay on top of my health and to make slight adjustments in nutrition, supplements, and activities based on the results. I have been doing all that I can to stay healthy, so you can imagine my disappointment on June 22, 2020, as well as my anger when the doctor told me that I have prostate cancer.
Yup, cancer. That scary, nasty, horrible word that should have no part of the English language. Here I am, 54 years old, feeling good, staying active, eating right, practicing moderation, and he lays this on me…seriously doc? It takes a while to sink in and fully grasp what he is talking about. I have tons of questions and never enough answers. What do I need to do? What does this mean? How will this change my life? Who do I tell? When do I tell them? What about my kids?
Now the good news. Because I am healthy, eat right, participate in the annual wellness program at Isaac and go to the doctor every year and have my blood tested, it was discovered early. I have early stage prostate cancer, and I have time to decide on the course of action, what will be best for me, and get this resolved. I have time because I do all the above every year, and I didn’t wait for a prognosis to be that I have 6 months or a year to get everything in order. Although the cancer is in my body, I have a say in who is going to win this battle, and this Marine will not be defeated by some rogue, crazy, cancer cells. I am fortunate, because of the type of cancer but this is not about luck, this is about conscious decisions that I have made over the last 10 years.
Having options is a big deal when it comes to cancer because not everyone does. Please be sure that once you turn 50 that you are getting your PSA tested (simple blood test) and having your annual physical. If you have a family history, you should consider getting tested in your 40’s – this gives you more options.
Cancer does not discriminate, it has no agenda, no plan. It does what it wants to do. Cancer doesn’t care if your little girl is getting married in the spring, your son got the big promotion, that you planned on buying a lake house this summer, or if you have that big family vacation coming up next year. Cancer just does not care, but you can.
My words of advice to you, take care of yourself and participate in an annual wellness program. If you don’t have one at work, maybe you could start one. If you have employees, you have the opportunity to help them be healthier as well.
Schedule your annual physical and blood test, and be sure they include a PSA if you are over the age of 40 – this is the blood test to screen for prostate cancer. Make a few adjustments to what you eat and try to get in 2-3 miles of walking every day and before you know it, you too will start feeling the benefits. The goal here is to become the CEO of your own life.
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