Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Looking Back

 It is estimated that men have a one in two chance of being diagnosed with cancer during their lifetimes; for women, the chance is one in three.

Even with those odds, it was never in my life’s plan that I’d be one of those men diagnosed with cancer, especially in what I’d consider to be a relatively young age.

I was diagnosed with prostate cancer when I was 57. 

I’m now 71. Thankfully, my PSA (prostate-specific antigen) remains undetectable.

I expected there'd come a time when I'd give up my cancer survivor status. I thought I'd return to thinking about myself in the same way I thought about myself prior to my diagnosis. 

Thirteen years later, that never happened, and I don't believe it ever will. In other words, once a cancer survivor, always a cancer survivor.

It’s virtually impossible to forget about your identity as a cancer survivor if treatment left you with quality of life issues that affect you every day, or regular testing is required to determine whether your cancer has returned.

It doesn't matter whether you're in remission for 10 months or 10 years. I suspect most of us living with cancer live with the possibility of a reoccurrence.

II think all cancer survivors have certain sensitivites we wish our healthly friends and family knew.

I asked several men with prostate cancer what they wished their friends and family knew about living with cancer. Some of their responses are listed below. I added a few of my own. I believe this list applies to everyone diagnosed with any form of cancer.

1. Looks are deceiving. You can't judge how well I'm doing based on my physical appearance.

2. Living with cancer is highly stressful before, during, and after treatment.

3. Please don't share stories about miracle cures.

4. I don't want to hear stories about people you know who died from prostate or any other form of cancer.

5. Don't feel pressured to say something wise, give advice, or cheer me up.

6. If you're seriously interested in how I'm doing, listen rather than talk.

7. Before, during, and after treatment, physical, emotional, relational and challenges occur.

8. There's no such thing as a “good cancer."

9. Cancer isn't contagious. Using a cup, fork, or spoon at my home won't give you cancer.

10. If treatment has affected my erectile functioning, I probably feel awful about myself as a man and as a partner.

11. Sometimes I feel anger, jealousy, or hostility toward folks who are healthy. Sometimes that anger is misdirected towards my spouse and/or care givers

12. I'm facing financial pressures. Missed work and high deductibles and co-pays changed my economic circumstances.

13. I may feel so discouraged or depressed that I'm sorry I survived my treatment.

14. I need breaks from thinking or talking about cancer.

15. The effects of treatment cause quality-of-life issues that are difficult to talk about.

16. My values and priorities may remain unchanged or undergo a radical transformation.

17. My relationship with my partner is changing. We don't know whether coping with cancer will bring us closer or tear us apart.

18. Comfort clich├ęs like "You'll beat this" or "Think positive" can permanently damage our relationship.

19. Don't judge me if coping with cancer challenges my faith or the goodness of God.

20. Waiting for test results is highly stressful, even if I've been in remission for years.

After reading through this list, you may wonder what you can do to help your partner, family member, or friend cope with cancer.

Here are a few of my suggestions:

• Before you say or do anything, give up on the notion that it's your job to say or do something to make it easier to cope with cancer.

• Give the gift of focused listening. This means listening to things that are uncomfortable or difficult to hear without changing the subject or fixing a problem.

• Share some non-cancer-related time together. When possible, ask cto go out together for a meal, a cup of coffee, a movie, or a walk. Any activity you can enjoy together is a valued gift.

• If you feel called to pray, rather than say, "I'll pray for you," ask if there's something specific you can pray for.

• Laughter is great medicine. Finds ways to share laughter. Watching a comedy together is one way to laugh together.• Give specific rather than general offers of help.

* Rather than say, "Call me if you need anything," say, "Is it OK if I bring a meal over tonight? What would you like?"

I’m sure this list isn’t complete so if you have some additions please add to them

If you believe sharing this with friends and family to help them better understand what you’re going through, please do so.

Rick Redner and his wife Brenda Redner wrote two award winning books. The first:

I Left My Prostate in San Francisco-Where's Yours?

provides men and couples with information and support before, during and after prostate surgery.

Their second book was written for couples living with!erectile dysfunction. After living with  erectile dysfunction for four years, Rick chose penile implant surgery. The couple share how implant surgery changed their lives and relationship.

The title of their book is:

Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Erectile Dysfunction and Penile Implants.


Per my contractual agreement, it is required that I site portions of this article appeared in Prostate Cancer News Today 

Saturday, October 14, 2023

Waging War on Prostate Cancer

I’ve been a prostate cancer survivor for more than ten years. Through social media, and from readers of my books and blogs, I’ve heard first hand, the ways in which coping with prostate cancer has resulted in life long depression, suicide, or divorce. 

My three decade marriage was stressed to such an extent we needed professional counseling to save our marriage. In part, because there’s very little information to help men and couples cope with the after effects of prostate surgery.

My wife and I decided to wage war on Prostate Cancer. 

The first strategy of our war involved PREVENTION. Unfortunately most men avoid going to Doctors until symptoms force them to make an appointment. We encourage all men thirty and beyond to get YEARLY prostate checks. If prostate cancer runs in the family starting at age 20 is a good idea.

Our second strategy is the war on FEAR. Far too many men where choosing an overly  aggressive treatment option because of their FEAR of cancer. We wanted to help men deal with their fears so they could make their treatment decision based on their diagnosis NOT on FEAR.

The third strategy is the war on IGNORANCE. Too few men choosing surgery are provided with information before or after surgery they need to cope successfully. To combat IGNORANCE we use social media.

For more than five years now I receive daily requests to join one of my three Facebook Groups.

Group #1 was created as a place men and couples could visit before and after prostate surgery to get the best preparation BEFORE surgery, and support for the challenges and losses involved AFTER surgery. 

The link to this page is:

Group #2 was created to help men and couples deal the with devastating consequences of living without erections.

I call erectile dysfunction a thief because:

*ED takes away physical and emotional intimacy. 

*ED steals your confidence in the bedroom. ED robs you of your manhood. 

*ED walks off with your self-esteem. 

*ED has the potential to destroy lives, and end relationships. 

The link for this Group is:

Group #3 which was created to provide information about the most successful and rated as the ED treatment with the highest level of satisfaction….Penile Implants.

This group provides information and support for those considering this surgery, and those with questions after surgery.

The link to this group is:

It’s hard to believe unless you’ve experienced this firsthand, that a man who received the news that surgery cured them of cancer, and rather than feel jubilant, they feel depressed because of the life long quality of life issues they face living without a prostate.

If you’re depressed after surgery or wish to avoid this depression post surgery this book is a vital resource.

Book #1 I Left My Prostate in San Francisco - Where's Yours?: Coping with the Emotional, Relational, Sexual, and Spiritual Aspects of Prostate Cancer 

The link to this book is here:

Here’s the link to our second award winning book for men and couples coping/struggling  with erectile dysfunction


Everything You Never Wanted to Know about Erectile Dysfunction and Penile Implants: End Your Silence, Sadness, Suffering, and Shame

Everything You Never Wanted to Know about Erectile Dysfunction and Penile Implants: End Your Silence, Sadness, Suffering, and Shame

Everything You Never Wanted to Know about Erectile Dysfunction and Penile Implants: End Your Silence, Sadness, Suffering and Shame

I also provide FREE access to more than 200 blogs I’ve written, many of which were published with Prostate Cancer News Today.

That link is here:

If any of these links do not work, copy/paste them to your web browser.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Prostate Cancer Survivor

 For more than a decade my identity included surviving cancer. I thought of myself as a Prostate Cancer Survivor.

For more than a decade, I’ve experienced multiple reminders, every day, that I’m living without a prostate so that means I’ve had a minimum of 7,300 reminders and that doesn’t include thoughts the cancer could return. 

If you add those thoughts in, that means I’ve been reminded about life without a prostate  and/or prostate cancer over 10,000 times in the last decade!

For five emotionally painful years I lived with the identity of an “Impotent Man”

I HATED that identity. I wanted my wife of thirty years to leave me so she could live with a “Real Man” that was fully functioning.

A Penile Implant took away my identity as an “Impotent Man.” I was overjoyed to shed that identity.

My journey with Chronic Kidney (CKD) Disease began when I was hospitalized with Sepsis. 

I began with Stage 4 which is severe kidney damage.

Out of the hospital I did everything I could to regain kidney functioning. My efforts were fruitful. My GFR rose to Stage 3a-mild to moderate kidney disease. From my perspective life returned to normal. I thought my experience with CKD came to an end.

However a month later my GFR dropped by 16%. I went to Stage 3B  which is moderate to severe kidney damage.

After my Nephrologist was informed of my current GFR, life was changed. I was told not to eat red meat.  To avoid salty foods, and reduce sugar intake. 

This meant saying goodbye to steak, hamburgers, fries, pizza, frankfurters, pastrami, deli meats, donuts, pancakes and syrup, all alcoholic beverages, and more. 

Thankfully it didn’t mean saying goodbye to Splenda!!

Once I received these restrictions, I found myself craving everything I was told to avoid!  To date, I haven’t given in.

Since it is now necessary for me to drink water all the time, and watch every that goes into my mouth, I rarely get a break from thinking about CKD.

With Prostate Cancer there was the fear of reoccurrence, which most PC patients (including myself) initially think about multiple times a day) 

With CKD that’s the fear is that a falling GFR will result in total kidney failure leading to dialysis.  

I think about kidney failure and dialysis A LOT. It involves three  days a week, 4-5 hours a day in a treatment center.  That’s NOT what I want for my life!

In my mind, I’ve assumed a new identity. My identity as a Prostate Cancer Survivor has taken a back seat to my new identity…A person living with CKD.

I’ve discovered the difference between identities that change with medical circumstances and an identity that NEVER changes.

As a Christian, my identity encompasses all the abundance of being a beloved child of God, and a citizen of Heaven.

That remains unchanging, which I now appreciate more than ever…an unchanging identity!!

Rick Redner and his wife Brenda Redner wrote an award winning comprehensive guide to the physical, personal, spiritual, and relational issues, every man, and couple, will face before and after prostate surgery. The title of their book is:

I Left My Prostate in San Francisco-Where’s Yours?

After four years of coping with erectile dysfunction after double nerve sparing surgery,  Rick & Brenda decided to share their experiences with devastating effects of erectile dysfunction; which led to a loss of self-esteem, and marital conflict.

They shared why they chose to seek professional help to save their marriage. They also provided a detailed account of how and why Rick went the penile implant route, and how that changed everything. This is a life changing book. Don’t take their word for it, read the Amazon reviews.

Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Erectile Dysfunction & Penile Implants