Compassion and connection helped me through prostate cancer treatment
In spring 2017, I went in for a routine physical and heard the words that no guy wants to hear: “You have late-stage aggressive prostate cancer, and we are concerned that it has spread.”
Up until that moment, I had been busy doing life, going to work and spending time with my family. I was overwhelmed with questions: How will this impact my family? How will this impact my career? And then I was suddenly worried I had missed my purpose in life.
I didn’t know much about proton therapy. But my research confirmed that MD Anderson and Dr. Frank were the best of the best.
Compassion from afar even during Hurricane Harvey
I was supposed to have my first appointment at MD Anderson in August 2017, but it had to be rescheduled due to Hurricane Harvey. Even with the impact of the storm in Houston, MD Anderson staff still called to make sure I had everything I needed in preparation for my treatments. I hadn’t been impacted by the storm, but many of them were experiencing personal devastation from the flood. I understood then the level of caring I’d be getting at MD Anderson. Many can talk a good game of service, but MD Anderson lived it out at a time when most would’ve understandably been self-focused.
My proton therapy treatment
I started proton therapy in October 2017. The clinical trial I enrolled in required 15 treatments over five weeks instead of the normal 39 treatments over an eight-week period.
My daughter created a verse of the day for me on decorated recipe cards. I pulled one out each morning and let that guide my day. Walking into treatment every day, I was greeted by cheerful therapists. They made the hard stuff easy. My main side effect was fatigue. But I was able to get extra rest on days I needed to. The people who had the biggest impact on me were Dr. Frank, nurse Josh Savoie and radiation therapist Denice Jones. Their leadership and encouragement make a big difference to the patients at MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center.
During my stay in Houston, I found a fellow prostate patient during treatment to spend time with. We watched a lot of baseball together. We were both in Houston without our families, so it helped to connect with another out-of-towner going through the same experience.
Life after my prostate cancer treatment
I’ve been cancer-free for three years, and I see life differently as a cancer survivor. My cancer journey was a wake-up call. I now want to use my journey to help others by helping them live with more intentionality and purpose.
As part of my role in helping business owners sell and transition out of their business, I now also provide executive coaching to other men and business owners to help them think through where they are in life. My MD Anderson journey changed the course of my life well beyond just my five weeks there, and I hope I can help others in whatever time I have with them.