We were camping almost nine years ago when my doctor called to tell me that I had cancer. The news was completely unexpected and, in that moment, our lives changed forever. We were camping again this summer when hubby’s urologist called to tell him that he has two different kinds of prostate cancer, so here we go again!
A recent biopsy took 12 tissue samples from Richard’s prostate. Two of those, taken from one side of the heart shaped gland, showed a low-risk, non-aggressive cancer that is common in older men and usually requires nothing more than surveillance. Unfortunately, one sample from the other side proved to be a somewhat more aggressive form. According to the Gleason score, a scale used to evaluate the grade of prostate cancer cells, it’s a medium-grade cancer meaning that treatment ought to be considered.
There are several possible options. Surgical removal of the prostate, in spite of the fact that it has some negative effects, is thought to be the best choice for long-term survival, but the urologist warned us that the maximum age for a radical prostatectomy has always been a matter of debate and many specialists consider 70 to be the upper limit for performing this surgery. At 72, Richard is otherwise in excellent health and physical condition, so he has been referred to a specialist who does robotic prostate surgery, the most advanced treatment option available. We are praying that he’ll be approved and that the procedure will go ahead. If not, we’ll have to consider other options.
Over the past nine years, we have learned many things. The word cancer, itself, isn’t as scary as it once was. Though not to be taken lightly, it isn’t necessarily a death sentence either. We’ve learned to live life to the fullest and to consider every day a gift. We’ve learned the importance of living in and enjoying the moment. We’ve learned that a positive attitude makes the fight easier and adds to the quality of our days. We’ve learned not to worry about things that haven’t happened yet. As Matthew 34:6 says, “do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” We’ve learned to focus on the things that are important in life and to let go of things that drain us for no good purpose. We’ve learned that there can be joy in the midst of challenging times. These are all lessons that we’ll take with us as we embark on this next journey.
Ultimately, we know that we have a God who walks this pathway with us and promises to take care of us. “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
As always, the blog will be about more than cancer, but from time to time I will be using it to share progress reports. The only difference from the past will be that now I’ll be reporting on both of us!