Monday, June 14, 2010

Was I Really Sick?

One of the surprises for me with my prostate cancer was finding out how many people envisioned me gaunt and stuck in a hospital for 11 weeks. And now, “How are you feeling?” is a common recurring question since I am on this side of treatment. With early stage prostate cancer, there are no symptoms. You don’t feel or look sick, and until the doctor tells you “you have cancer” you think you are healthy. I could have gone for another 10 years (statistically speaking) and been unaware of my cancer. In fact when my urologist told me I had prostate cancer, he said it had more than likely been there for a few years.

So what does this mean? First of all, ignorance can lead to bliss but it is not bliss. Last April the wellbeing of my prostate gland was not part of my health concerns. I have to confess that I wasn’t sure “exactly” where the prostate gland resided in my body or what its purpose was. I had a general idea where it was as my doctors had this uncomfortable procedure to “point out” exactly where it was. This is not something you actually see; it is something you take by faith through the “experience.” In hindsight (no pun intended), I wish I had known more. But, like most men, we go through life living the mantras “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” and “out of sight and out of mind.”

Secondly, do not take your health for granted. I really felt I was living a healthy lifestyle. But as I have discovered, the Western diet is far from healthy. There have been improvements, but we have a long way to go in this area. Diabetes, heart disease and cancer have been shown to have definite links to diet. Heredity also plays a role but diet and lifestyle are key factors to increasing the risks of developing any of these life-threatening maladies.

Yes, there was definitely something wrong with me internally (medically speaking that is), but without the early diagnostic tools of today’s medical community, I would never have known it. As I look back, it is more of a “take it by faith” type of situation since my experience did not have a hint of forewarning that cancer was on my horizon for 2009. Part of that was due to my ignorance about prostate cancer and its early warning signs. Now with proton treatment behind me, I take it by faith that the protons are having their intended results. This is not a blind faith. It is a faith based on a 20-year history of successful proton treatment from the James M. Slater, M.D. Proton Treatment and Research Center at the Loma Linda University Medical Center. In fact, this October marks the 20th anniversary of the opening of the LLUMC proton treatment center.

So “How am I feeling?” … I feel great!

No comments:

Post a Comment