“We did find cancer.”
That’s not a phrase anyone wants to hear. It’s a phrase that changes your life in a matter of seconds. And it’s a phrase that I heard from my doctor recently.
A few months ago, I had a routine physical where the doctor did bloodwork. My PSA level came back a little high so he referred me to a urologist for a follow-up visit.
If you don’t know, PSA is a prostate-specific antigen. There are several reasons that it can be high that are nothing to worry about, but a high PSA level is also a red flag for prostate cancer. When my urologist tested my PSA level again and it was still high, we decided to do a biopsy. The results of the biopsy were what led to the phone call where he gave me the news.
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Hearing that you have cancer can come as a shock. One day I was feeling as healthy as when I was a kid and the next day I’m a cancer patient. I had no noticeable symptoms and no idea that there was a tumor eating my body from the inside out.
Just hearing the word “cancer” triggers a roller coaster ride of emotions and mental stress. How serious is it? Has it spread? Is this going to be what kills me? How long will I be out of work? Will we be okay financially?
Part of the stress is that there are no answers at the beginning. A cancer diagnosis triggers a flurry of other tests and appointments. Until those results come in, you just have to wonder what’s going on inside your body.
In my case, thankfully the news has been relatively good since the bombshell of the initial diagnosis. Prostate cancer is extremely common among men, but it is also very slow-moving and treatable. In my case, doctors recommended treatment even though my cancer still seems confined to my prostate.
I’m not ashamed to say that I have been afraid throughout this chapter of my life, but I’m actually surprised at how positive I am at this point. After an initial freakout, I have come to feel calm and at peace about the situation. I really can only attribute that to prayer and God’s grace and comfort.
As my longtime readers may remember, this is not my first bout with cancer. Almost five years ago, prompted by what now seems to have been a prophetic dream, I discovered that a blemish on my face was melanoma. That cancer was removed and I moved on with my life. I hope to do the same after prostate cancer.
So far, this story isn’t as dramatic, but I can see God’s hand in the discovery of my cancer at a time when prostate cancer deaths are on the rise because some doctors are not screening for it due to confusing guidelines. I can thank God that my primary care physician was an old-school doctor who does blood tests in addition to the “digital” prostate exam. I can thank God that I was able to get a quick surgery date with a leading doctor at one of the nation’s best hospitals. I can thank God for his comfort and the assurance that everything is going to be okay.
I admit to having wondered why this is happening to me. It’s actually still hard to believe that it is happening to me. I’ll probably be worried about the cancer returning for the rest of my life, but my hope is that God will use the experience to deepen my faith. We all need to be brought closer to God because, unless we live to see Christ return, we will all eventually face that something that is going to kill us. It’s terrifying to think of facing death without God.
And maybe part of my purpose is to remind you to get yourself checked on a regular basis. If you’re a man with a prostate, and that includes all biological men who haven’t had them removed, you are at risk for prostate cancer. If you’re approaching middle age, get your PSA checked. Talk to your doctor about doing this even earlier if you have a family history of prostate cancer. And then go back and do it again on a regular basis.
And take time to get yourself a good physical every year or so at a minimum. That includes you ladies without prostates as well. You have different concerns but are no less in need of medical monitoring.
So I’m going to be selfish and take advantage of my public platform, limited though it is, to ask for your prayers this Tuesday as I go under the robotic knife to have my prostate removed.
Please pray that God will guide the doctors and medical staff in successfully removing the cancer.
Pray that the entire cancer will be removed and that it will not return.
Pray that the early indications are correct and that there is no spread.
Pray that any side effects from the surgery will be minimal and short-lived.
Pray that the FAA will be satisfied with the results so that I can return to my day job.
Pray for my family as they support me.
And pray for all the other cancer sufferers out there. My church prayer list and community news are both filled with mentions of the c-word. There are many people who have it much worse than me.
I’m thankful that my prognosis is good and I’m thankful for the outpouring of support that I’ve had already from family, friends, and church members. I’ll still take as many prayers as I can get.
I am confident that I’ll get through this and that I’ll grow in the process. My immediate goal after surgery is to work my way back into the cockpit, but I’m also looking forward to resuming running. I want to get back out and run another 5K soon.
I’ll be the guy in the “cancer sucks” shirt.
The above describes one of the reasons that I haven’t been writing much lately. Between work and doctor appointments and freaking out, writing just hasn’t been a priority.
I don’t know when you’ll see me post here again. A lot depends on how I feel. I’ll probably be tweeting and putting updates on my Facebook page before I get back to writing full articles. You can follow both me and Racket News on the various platforms. Those addresses are below.
MASTODON: If you’re on Mastodon, so are we. In fact, we are on Mastodon whether you are or not. Find the Racket News on Mastodon at @RacketNews@federated.press
Give us a follow on the extinct pachyderm to see all of our articles and memes.
You can also find Racket News on Facebook and Twitter.
Speaking for me personally, I have created a number of new social media accounts as I brace for Twitter’s implosion. I’m not extremely active on any of them yet, but you can find me on Post (@captainkudzu), Mastodon (@email@example.com), and Counter Social (@firstname.lastname@example.org) at the click of each link.
TWEET OF THE DAY: After the downer news above, I’ll leave you with something light. A Twitter user reimagined every US president as a Pixar animated character. Here is the charming result.
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