Tuesday, September 17, 2013

How a story about Prostate Cancer Will Appear In Modesto Bee When I Gave Up

For many months I've been writing our local paper the Modesto Bee asking them to do a story about prostate cancer. I wrote letters to many reporters. When one responded,  I asked my Publicist to contact the Bee. I thought a Publicist would get the results I was unable to obtain. He requests were also ignored. I wasn't ready to quit so I wrote a letter to the opinion column hoping to get my letter about prostate cancer published. My letter was not chosen to appear in the paper.

Next I went on-line to ask people to write a letter to the Editor hoping that there would be strength in numbers. When all my attempts failed, I comforted myself by telling myself I’d fought the good fight. I congratulated myself for the many different and creative ways I tried to get our paper to do a story about prostate cancer. I committed myself to trying again next year for Prostate Cancer Awareness Month 2014

On the day I made peace with giving up, a Modesto Bee Reporter who was helping me place an ad in the paper gave me the suggestion to call the Editor directly. I thought I have nothing to lose, so I placed the call. I didn't expect anything to happen. A few hours later a Modesto Bee Reporter called me. I told why I thought I would be important for the Modesto Bee to write a story about prostate cancer. I shared the statistic that 1 in 6 men will receive this diagnosis in their lifetime and with early detection prostate cancer can be cured. I shared my belief that a story in the Modesto Bee would save many lives. To my surprise he agreed to do a story about prostate cancer. I hung up from that phone call amazed that my final effort resulted in success.  A verse from this poem came to my mind:

“And many a fellow turns about
When he might have won, had he stuck it out;”

Just as I was ready to quit, I decided one more try and that try resulted in SUCCESS. So I decided to include the whole poem in this blog. If you are struggling with anything I hope this poem will encourage you.

When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
 When the road you are trudging seems all uphill;
 When the funds are low, and the debts are high,
 And you want to smile, but you have to sigh;
 When care is pressing you down a bit -
 Rest if you must, but don't quit. 

 Life is queer with its twists and turns,
 As every one of us sometimes learns;
 And many a fellow turns about
 When he might have won, had he stuck it out;
 Don't give up though the pace seems slow;
 You may well succeed with another blow.

 Often the goal is nearer than
 It seems to a faint and faltering man;
 Often the struggler has given up
 When he might have captured the Victor's cup!
 And he learned too late, when the night came down,
 How close he was to the golden crown.

 Success is failure turned inside out,
 The silver tint of the clouds of doubt.
 And you never can tell how close you are
 If may be near, when it seems afar.
 So stick to the fight when you are hardest hit,
 It is when things seem worst you must not quit. 

 Author : Unknown

Thursday, September 5, 2013

National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month Sept 2013

I never knew that September is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month until a year after I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Fortunately, I’ve had yearly PSA tests and yearly rectal exams for more than a decade. I must confess at the time I thought it was a waste of time, money, and a whole lot of discomfort to be checked every year since I never considered it possible that I’d end up with prostate cancer. I wonder if most men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer are as shocked as I was when I received the news.

For most of us who get this news, our prior experiences with cancer will have a huge effect on how we receive this news and how we will react as well. Unfortunately for me, I’ve had experience as a medical social worker and my wife has experience as an Oncology nurse. The both of us have witnessed many people die of cancer related illnesses.

The words came to my mind when I was told I had cancer. Those were pain, suffering and death. I wanted every single cancer cell out of my body as soon as possible. Since I’m a high tech fan the idea of robotic surgery appealed to me. I had no idea how surgery changes your life forever.  That said, knowing what I know today, I’d do the same thing.

Not every man feels that way. Here’s what a man wrote on a prostate cancer support forum after his surgery:
I found out I had PC Feb. 2011. May 9 2011 I under went a radical prostectomy. Worst decision I ever made. 2 years later I still suffer from the side effects of the surgery. My life has change forever. I'll never be the same again. I am in a deep depression and forever will be. I would NOT suggest surgery to anyone. There are other alternatives to consider. Please don't make the same mistake I did.

This man is in serious psychological pain and believes his life was ruined forever, even though he’s been cured of prostate cancer.  I can’t stress this enough, if you’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer take your time, do your research and decide whether or not aggressive treatment is necessary. Many men do very well with active surveillance and dietary changes.

One in six men will receive the diagnosis of prostate cancer. This is a very treatable disease when it is diagnosed early. Therefore it’s important for every man over fifty, (age forty if prostate cancer runs in your family) to get both a PSA test and a digital rectal exam yearly. In honor of National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month if you are over fifty make an appointment, get your PSA and the digital rectal exam. The life you save may be your own.

If you want more information about prostate cancer and/or robotic surgery visit my website at:
My website