This will not be the normal BW post but I hope you will take the time to read nonetheless. Also, versions of this have appeared on both Facebook and G+ so if you've seen it there no need to reread here.
Back to normal tomorrow.
Most of you who know me also know I typically do not use social media networks for personal posts; however this will be an exception, one I hope you read and forward to others.
In mid September I was diagnosed with early stage prostate cancer. As I write this I am now one week beyond successful radical robotic laparoscopic prostatectomy, which, in my doctor’s words, based on the post surgery pathology, was “a cure not a treatment.”
Detected early, as was true in my case, colon, breast, skin, and prostate cancer are all very treatable with excellent prognosis for the future, but there is a catch. You have to discover each of them as early as possible and the responsibility for that largely rests with us as individuals.
I’d like to say I was very diligent but other than having an annual physical, expecting to be told I was healthy, I really didn’t pay much attention. Fortunately for me my primary physician did and noticed a somewhat elevated PSA number just short of a year to the day ahead of my surgery. Had I not gone to see him, had he not browsed my file as we talked about something completely unrelated, I might be telling you a completely different story at some point in the not too distant future.
So what can and should you do?
1. Get very involved in your healthcare. Don’t assume the medical healthcare workers in your life are up-to-the-minute on you and your “numbers” (the results of your annual tests); ask for them and understand what they mean. Be proactive.
2. Pay attention to minor changes in your health and do not hesitate to see your doctor more often than for just an annual physical.
3. Consider supporting any number of organizations whose research may one day benefit you or someone you love. For example, when it comes to prostate cancer Movember (http://us.movember.com/?home)
4. If you or someone you care about is diagnosed with any of the diseases that threaten us all, don’t panic. Seek out knowledge and advice, working in concert with your doctors to find the best solution for you.
My story has a happy ending and I fully appreciate how lucky I am relative to so many, no doubt including some of you now reading this. Looking back I only regret that I was not more aware than lucky and I hope that becomes true for you as well.