My true story about Prostate Cancer

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Lee & Jim October 2007

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About 15 years ago, my life changed forever when my Dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer.  I remember that day when I heard the news as vividly as if it happened yesterday.  Thanks for advances in medical treatments and training, prostate cancer wasn’t a death sentence for my Dad, but it served as a wake-up call for our family.  I’ve partnered with the Prostate Cancer Foundation to share my true story about prostate cancer.

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My true story about Prostate Cancer

Although this is technically my Dad’s prostate cancer story, he passed away 6 years ago from pneumonia, so he is no longer here to share in his own words.

Cancer doesn’t just affect the person who has the illness.  The family and friends of the person with cancer are also deeply affected when their loved one is diagnosed with cancer.

Now, my Dad wasn’t the most healthy person.  He had Diabetes and heart problems.  He was overweight and didn’t exercise.  And he had a high-stress job as a bankruptcy attorney.  Each one of those individually is a lot to handle.  Add them all together and that can be a lot to handle.

But, even with everything going on, he was productive, happy, and always had a positive outlook on life.

Lee & Jim October 2007

The Phone Call

It was 2002, and I was working inside a bank branch in Huntington Beach.  It was a normal, uneventful day in the branch like any other when one of my co-workers told me that my Dad was on the line.  Ok, cool.

I picked up the phone and that’s when my Dad told me that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.  The news was so shocking, I couldn’t really form a response.  Tears immediately started flowing and I cried like never before.  I thought this meant my Dad, the most important person in my life, was going to die.

But… 

Cancer is not a Death SentenceClick To Tweet

I was so emotional and teary-eyed that I couldn’t drive.  One of my co-workers drove me to the hospital so I could be with my Dad and Mom.  For all of the bad news, my Dad was in pretty good spirits.  He was always so strong.

Time For Research

16 years ago, the internet was nothing like it is today.  But it was still useful.  We found so many sites (like the Prostate Cancer Foundation) that helped explain what Prostate Cancer is, what the treatment options are, and, most importantly, the chances for survival.

I even met someone in an AOL Chat Room (if you remember what that is) that was going to USC Medical School.  She was an invaluable resource and a great person to talk to in order to calm my fears.

With prostate cancer, treatment options and effectiveness vary.  Strangely enough, two of my Dad’s close friends also were diagnosed with prostate cancer about the same time.  We evaluated the options for treatment and went with the prostectomy and localized radiation.  One friend did hormone treatment, while the other did chemo.

A 4th option is called “active surveillance” where you basically do nothing other than have regulard tests to see if the prostate cancer is growing.  An interesting fact I learned is that all men will eventually get prostate cancer if they live long enough.  It is just a fact of getting older and having testosterone in our blood.  But prostate cancer can sometimes grow so slowly that they pass away from something else before they ever know they had prostate cancer.

Everyone needs to do what’s best for them based on their situation and their Doctor’s guidance.

The Prostate Cancer Treatment

First came the prostectomy, which is the removal of the prostate gland.  And then came the localized radiation.  The radiation affected my Dad and sapped his energy.  It was tough watching him struggle to gather enough energy to put in a little work to help his clients.

Soon we would receive the excellent news that the prostate cancer was at undetectable levels in my Dad’s body.  The Doctors wouldn’t say he was cured, because you never know when or if it will return, but the combination of treatments killed the cancer cells to the point that the tests couldn’t detect any cancer cells!

We were so happy!

My Emotional Video with Timmy

Please watch my emotional video talking about my Dad’s experience with the diagnosis of and fight against prostate cancer.

Here’s a spoiler… I cry.  A lot.

Share your Prostate Cancer Story & Win

Kristen Bell TRUE Campaign

I want to encourage you to share your prostate cancer story with the Prostate Cancer Foundation by clicking this link.

Whether you have been diagnosed with prostate cancer yourself or if you were a caregiver for a loved one who was (or is) battling prostate cancer, we want to hear your story.

As we all know, a cancer diagnosis is scary as hell.  And some treatments can take a toll on the mind, body, and soul that can deflate even the most positive of people.

And that’s why your story matters.  By sharing your story, it will help others who are in the same situation you were in.  Mentally, reading how other people have gone through what you are going through could the exact “medicine” that a person needs to win their fight against cancer or even just make it through their next session of chemo or radiation.

The Bald Thoughts

My family is blessed that my father was able to win his prostate cancer battle.  He lived another 10 years past his diagnosis and passed away at the age of 75 from another illness.  I’m extremely happy that he lived long enough to meet my son and see the beautiful home that Anna and I have been raising our family in.  I want others who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer to be able to create memories that are meaningful to them and their family & friends, so I’m donating to the Prostate Cancer Foundation and encourage you to do so as well.

Prostate Cancer Foundation


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6 COMMENTS

  1. Great story, one in six men will get prostate cancer and I got mine last July. Mine was caught very early and had not spread. I had a robot assisted prostectomy and am cancer free. Don’t trust the finger test alone because I had five different finger test and none felt anything. Watch your PSA, don’t mess with this. You will do much better with an early detection. I have a 99% chance of living 15 years. Sixty seven is the prime age to get this and remember this is the most treatable of all cancers, please keep on your Doctor about screening.

    • Jim, thanks for your reply. I’m so glad that your prostate cancer was caught early and have a great outcome. I hope you live MUCH longer than 15 years!

      Thanks for sharing those stats and reminders. Now that I have a family history of prostate cancer I (and my son Timothy) have to be cautious and get tested regularly. With early diagnosis, the chances of survival and positive outcomes increase dramatically.

  2. thanks for sharing the story, I ve met you many times at local travel meet up and you always welcome everybody with kind heart and smiles. I want to let you know that most Cancers are not something to fear but can be controlled with lifestyle, particularly eating habits. here is a link to a youtube channel of Dr Gregar
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LwT-i3B_zD8&t=0s. I have no agenda or promote anything in monetary gain, just passing good health knowledge and understanding of how the system works.

    • Thanks for the kind words and sharing the knowledge. We can all do better to eat healthier foods that will prolong our health and improve our lives.

      One of the changes I made was giving up soda for water in May 2017 and haven’t had a soda since June 2017. Although I miss the caffeine sometimes, it’s way better for my body.

  3. I lost both my parents to cancer literally within four months of each other, Lee.

    Worse is that the second experience almost identically mirrored the first experience, which I had not even gotten over yet. Talk about brutal.

    I just want to let you know that if you ever need to talk, I am here for you. Our situations prove that time does not always heal all wounds…

    • Brian, thank you for sharing. I’m really sorry that you lost both your parents, especially so close together and under those circumstances. I really appreciate the offer to talk. I’m sure we will have the opportunity sometime soon. Have a great day and take care.

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