November 1, 2018 was the day my life was impacted in an unimaginable way I’ve still yet to encompass truly. I pride myself on the ability to take care of my family. As a result, I try to eat right and exercise to hopefully add years to my lifespan while offering myself and my family a better quality of life. For several months leading up to my diagnosis, I hadn’t found myself worried at all about whether or not I might have cancer.
My doctor discovered my PSA levels were extremely high during the prior summer, which began the process of me taking antibiotics for two months. She [my doctor] was anxious to see if my levels would come down. But when they didn’t drop my doctor elected to send me to Austin Urology. After undergoing a biopsy, I was informed that I had Stage 1 prostate cancer. I often tell people in many ways; I’m still stuck at that moment in time.
As we continue to age, I’m sure we all think about our last moments when we may take our last breath or hear some news that turns our world upside down. It was honestly shocking to me so much that I was unable to react in response for days. Not to say I was necessarily always down because, in several ways, I was the complete opposite. With my daughter’s sitting at my feet and my wife trying to hide behind my back so that she could cry enough tears for the both of us, it is a moment forever etched in my memory.
I never experienced any symptoms from the time of my diagnosis until my official surgery date. Early detection saved my life.
The urologist confirmed and informed us of this earth-shattering news. I believe God orchestrated this whole situation to teach me about how precious this thing called life truly is. I came home that night, called my brothers, parents, and closest friends to share the news. I told each of them I was choosing to maneuver through this process positively while looking at the glass half-full.
Later on, I sat down at the table with my wife and mother-in-law and called my primary care physician. My doctor’s insistence on more tests is the reason I found out about my diagnosis in the first place. One thing’s for sure; I never felt alone because my wife and I are best friends, and at the point I got diagnosed, our bond was so strong that I never doubted we wouldn’t make it through this together. It could’ve been worse, and that’s something I genuinely believed.
I knew for sure my wife was never going to leave my side, but this is also the ultimate blessing of having a God-fearing woman who is with you no matter what. My wife and I have been together for almost 16 years. Before this diagnosis, we’ve had our fair share of stress, grief, and heartache, just like the next couple. Both of my grandmothers passed away within the time frame of my diagnosis with prostate cancer, and there were days I would sit at traffic lights in the car alone.
It would suddenly hit me like a ton of bricks that I had cancer. It made me sad neither one of them was here physically to help, guide, or talk me through this by providing their wisdom, words of encouragement, and compassion. In those stress-induced milliseconds, I was in constant worry and wondered what lied ahead. There’s something to be said about my prostate cancer journey as a Black man, under the age of 40 enduring cancer.
Aside from my wife, children, and family as support, I can’t say I had any other man who had gone through this same battle and could offer me a sense of hope or provide some insight. I’m thankful I’m a man who recognizes the benefit of going to the doctor regularly. Truthfully, meeting my wife was the reason I started seeing a doctor in the first place. My surgery took place in June of 2019, and once my prostate gland was removed, the discovery was much more severe than anticipated.
My cancer was [actually] considered at an aggressive Stage 2. Still mind-blowing because I never experienced any symptoms from the time of my diagnosis until my official surgery date. Early detection saved my life.My plea to any man is to take charge of your health. The first step is going for your annual physical with specific requests, such as a PSA test.
My surgery took place in June of 2019, and once my prostate gland was removed, the discovery was much more severe than anticipated.
There is an untruthful myth to wait until you are 40 years old, but obviously, this isn’t always the case. I developed Stage 2 cancer, and I was only 37 years of age. I’m thankful I had a secure support system. My entire family pitched in to help, including offering to watch our children when my wife and I needed some one-on-one time.
I still have moments of fear and doubt that creep in, and that will most likely never change. How we choose to utilize fear determines our outcome in every facet of our lives. Prostate cancer is twice as fatal for African American men, and I’ve met so many other brothers on this journey. Any of them will tell you early detection is truly a lifesaver.
For me, this translates to the reality that it always works in your favor and benefits you to find out sooner rather than later. After surgery, when I came home from the hospital, my wife really proved her devotion to ensure I was comfortable because I had to wear a catheter and couldn’t do anything for myself, let alone contribute to the house. During this time, I had shallow moments. I didn’t feel like a man anymore, the provider or leader. Looking back, it was in those moments my wife and I both had a new level of intimacy for one another.
With an inserted catheter and a bag around my leg, she had to wipe me down and help change my urine bag continuously, but she never complained or left my side. My wife never made me feel small because she knew as soon as I was back on my feet, I would be back to helping our family and household, in any dynamic. My wife and I went through this prostate cancer journey the way we’ve endured every challenge in our lives: together. And our level of togetherness continues to make all the difference.