Prostate Cancer Awareness month might be over but for the Prostate Cancer Community the work continues. Currently there still is not enough done or said about prostate cancer. We do not have the full support of the Media. There needs to be more Survivor, Caregiver, and family stories shared. I share my Journey with prostate cancer as a caregiver at different events.
On June 19, 2009, my husband was 56 years old and diagnosed with an aggressive from of prostate cancer. He is also the first generation diagnosed in his family with two younger brothers with no known history of the disease. It was hard enough hearing that my husband has prostate cancer and I never want to hear those words in our Golden years of life. The moment when I heard those words, it felt like I hit a brick wall full force. After realizing, that this was not a nightmare or a horrible dream, and that there was no waking up from it. The shock was starting raise its ugly head as well. There were so many questions running through my head that to this day I still have no answers! The doctor explained all the options for treatment. Seven years ago, today he chose to have a prostatectomy. We were hoping for good news that the cancer had not escaped the prostate. Unfortunately that was not the news that I heard from the surgeon. It has escaped the prostate to the lymph nodes. We knew the risks of the surgery, but he chose life over death. Since his surgery, he has a PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) test every three months. During this waiting period, it is so stressful for both of us. The results return that it is still undetectable and a sigh of relief for now. Until there is another test, available this is all we have and I will continue to advocate for the PSA. Other critical facts with this disease we are the parents of four sons, grandparents of two grandsons, my husband has a grandson from a previous marriage. One of our grandsons has prostate cancer on both sides of the family and is Bi-racial. 1in 7 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. Therefore, as you can see with all these men in my life these are more reasons to why I will continue to fight to raise awareness I never want our sons to have to utter those devastating words to their wives or children
My husband is a Veteran and there is a high possibility that the prostate cancer is Agent Orange related. He applied to the Agent Orange Board and informed that since he never stepped Boots in Vietnam he does not qualify for compensation. He was a firefighter in the Air Force in the early 70’s. While he stationed in England, the fire station received a call that there was a Semi on fire filled with barrels. This is where my husband may been exposed to Agent Orange and was what the cause for action. He attended the interview with the Board and this is where it all went wrong. The interviewer asked if he stepped boots in Vietnam. No boots on the ground. It is impossible to have come in contact since you were never in Vietnam. Then he proceeded to inform the interviewer of the fire. This response was priceless! What color were the barrels? Were they orange? No, they were Black! Well since they were not orange, how do you know it was Agent Orange? Well they do not call the fire department out before the fire to see what color the barrels are. Final outcome Denied!! Later while doing research to find out more I found a website that there was Agent Orange on bases that it was stored on and stationed at during his career. Therefore, this also leads me to believe that it is possible he encountered Agent Orange. I have the list of bases that it was stored at and will fight to help my husband and others who never stepped boots on the ground in Vietnam. I know that if he ends up qualifying for compensation it will help with the medical treatments, medications, and incontinent supplies that he is taking/using to help with the side effects from the prostate cancer. The way that I look at it we can deal with the ED and incontinence as it is better than the other outcome of this horrible disease. DEATH! I do not want to be a Widow at 53, we still have our Golden Years ahead of us.