John Whetstone: ON A MISSION TO ADVOCATE FOR EARLY DETECTION OF PROSTATE CANCER
In November, 2005, at age 62, I was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer (PC). My father was diagnosed with PC at age 80, but lived another 3 years and died of other natural causes. All my life I have taken care of my health. I was a picture of good health. I had recently gone into semi-retirement (only 40 hours per week), and I was looking forward to retirement. Life was great.
Then the Urologist told me I had Prostate cancer. I was in shock and didn’t hear anything else he said. I am a very positive person but in my mind it felt like a death sentence. A few weeks back, I was looking forward to enjoying retirement with my wife, children, and grandchild…life was great ….and then my dreams went down the drain. The doctor assured me that wasn’t the case.
After the initial fear, I wanted to find out more about my disease and what I had to do to beat it. I did not want to die. The day after the diagnosis, our Men’s Bible Study Group met. I asked for prayers and advice and I did so again the following Sunday in church. Many people shared personal experiences, the names of Doctors and the names of men who had it. This involvement of others turned out to be the most important part of the decision making process.
I dove into the internet. I read for hours and took lots of notes. The more my wife and I read, the more confused we became, because there were so many options (and even more now). I spoke with doctors from many disciplines (all of whom had biases). I now know much more about treatment options but I believe now with even more certainty that NO MATTER WHAT TREATMENT YOU DECIDE ON, YOU NEED TO HAVE AN EXPERIENCED DOCTOR.
I had surgery on March 17, 2006. I was in and out of the hospital in less than one day, and never missed a day of work. That was unheard of. It was the right decision for me. I am happy to say, I have had absolutely no complications from my surgery and have been cancer free ever since and spend quality time with my wife and 4 grandchildren. Praise God!
I am on a Mission……I beat this disease….I AM BLESSED and I want to help more men beat it with early detection (PSA and DRE exams). I am a perfect example of the importance of early detection. I have been a member of Georgia Prostate Cancer Coalition since 2007 and served as its president for 4 years. GPCC’s vision is simple- Because PC is curable if detected early, we want to “ELIMINATE DEATHS DUE TO PROSTATE CANCER IN GEORGIA.”
I live in Metro Atlanta (Marietta/East Cobb), where we are fortunate to have many treatment options and good doctors. For those men who are diagnosed with PC, I recommend doing your own research, talking with survivors, like those of us with GPCC www.georgiapcc.org and interviewing various treatment providers. Each person is different, but make sure you get the right doctor. As a patient, you may have to travel from home for treatment but don’t you want the best? Your life may depend on it.
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