Having read comrade Jeff Fedee’s obituary in the guise of “A Heartfelt Message to Rick Wayne,” I’ve decided myself to come out of the cancer closet in the hope my personal experience will influence and encourage other Saint Lucian men to act early and avoid the possible consequences of Jeff’s uninformed views about prostate cancer in our time.
A diagnosis of prostate cancer is no longer the death sentence some still believe it to be. I know, for I am a breathing and living survivor of the disease. On November 2006, during a yearly routine doctor’s visit, my physician was not happy with the result of my rectal examination and referred me to a urologist. The result of a later biopsy revealed that cancer had launched a stealth attack on my prostate.
My doctors assured me that the cancer was in its early stages and discussed with me treatment options. At no time did they, or my extensive research, suggest I should crawl into a corner and await death. At age 50, when the cancer was first discovered, I knew I had done nothing so evil in life for which God would inflict on me such potentially deadly punishment. Far from being God’s revenge for sins committed, prostate
cancer, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), is the most common cancer in men.
In 2007, 223,307 American males were diagnosed with prostate cancer—and 29,093 of them died from it. The National Cancer Institute defines the disease as a cancer that forms in the tissues of the prostate (a gland in the male reproductive system located below the bladder and in front of the rectum). Prostate cancer usually occurs in older men and most deaths from the disease occur because of primitive male attitudes to their health. Our refusal to avail ourselves of yearly medical examination results in the disease being detected usually at a stage too advanced to be controlled, let alone cured.
In my own case—and also in Rick’s—the stealthy invader was caught early and promptly dealt with. Throughout my treatment (and Rick’s) there were no major interruptions in my daily existence. All that is required is a proactive approach to combating the disease. This is what Rick and I both did: we took our doctors’ advice and settled for the best treatment—a combination of “seeds implants and radiation therapy.” The relatively painless treatment allows one to function normally throughout. In fact, from the time I was diagnosed to the time of treatment, I never missed a beat. I went to work, left mid-morning for treatment, and then returned to work. The only side effect was unusual fatigue at weekends. With my family’s support I was able to rest comfortably.
Five years later, I am delighted to report I am not only alive and kicking but that all signs point toward a complete cure. My twice-yearly checks have shown a continuous decrease in my PSA and to date, it is almost at normal level.
Imagine: had I decided to lie back and quietly (secretly?) accept prostate cancer as God’s punishment for “egregious behavior,” to use Jeff’s words, I might not be here today encouraging others to do the right thing. By the way, true believers know God never places across our shoulders burdens He knows we cannot bear. Obviously, God is
no friend of the ambulance chasers who interpret every disease as we are told our forebears did when they worshipped rocks and accepted every ailment as punishment for bad behavior.
True believers know God is merciful. True believers know God is love!