October 30, 2014 began as a typical workday for Murray Waddell. He works for Agrium at the plant in Carseland. When he heard the Prostate Cancer Centre’s Man Van™ had come for a visit, he booked time to stop-by. The van was on-site to offer the employees the opportunity to take part in a three hour baseline PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) blood testing clinic.
Murray was relatively aware of the disease as his own father had been treated for prostate cancer. He was diligent in booking his annual physical through his family doctor and always ensured the PSA test was ticked as part of his annual blood work – he knew his risk factor was higher than most with a family member previously diagnosed.
Murray signed up for the clinic and climbed aboard the van. He offered his arm up for a small blood sample and ten minutes later was back at work. He didn’t think much about the test until the next morning when he received a call from a nurse at Calgary’s Prostate Cancer Centre who informed him his PSA result was higher than it should be for his 54 years of age. He was sent for an additional PSA blood test and once again the results confirmed his reading was much higher than normal.
Murray’s family doctor wanted to see him after his spike in his PSA. After conducting a digital rectal exam (DRE) his doctor felt it was necessary for him to be seen by a specialist at the Prostate Cancer Centre. He was impressed to be seen within two weeks of his referral to meet with a specialist at the Prostate Cancer Centre Rapid Access Clinic.
The Urologist at the Prostate Cancer Centre was concerned with Murray’s irregular DRE and repeated PSA elevated scores, so he booked him in for a biopsy. Three weeks later, just before Christmas, Murray’s biopsy was performed.
Christmas was a dismal celebration for Murray and his family as he was not sure about the fate of his future. He didn’t receive his diagnosis until the New Year when he met with his Urologist Dr. Duffy and was informed his diagnosis was positive, he had cancer.
In a strange way Murray felt a weight lifted and describes it as “to not know is like fighting someone in the dark- you have no target”. Murray now had a goal, to get informed and get his cancer treated.
He describes his wife Hilma-Sue as his rock, who walked hand-in-hand with him throughout his journey. The first step they took together was taking part in the Prostate Cancer Centre’s Treatment Option Clinic, here Medical Specialists explained in detail all the options and potential side-effects, giving men the tools to make an informed decision.
Murray had a decision to make and it included three choices:
1) Closely monitoring his condition- he wasn’t overly excited about this option
(2) Brachytherapy or external beam radiation was his second choices, but after talking with Dr Duffy he ruled this choice out due to the fact that if the cancer reoccurred the prostate wouldn’t be able to be removed.
(3) The third option that resonated with Murray was what he was thinking from the very beginning. “Have the prostate surgically removed and get it the hell out of there!!”.
Murray has now completed his treatment and with the help of the Prostate Cancer Centre medical team who assisted him before, during and after his treatment he is now healthier than ever.
Prostate Cancer has had a positive effect on Murray’s mindset. He has no time to focus on minor problems and stuff he can’t control. Instead he has chosen to re-wind his way of thinking, he looks forward to leaving the rat-race behind, to many sunsets, the great outdoors, grandkids and life.
Murray has also joined the team of more than 80 volunteers at the Prostate Cancer Centre and now wants to pay-it-forward by donating his time and experience to other men going through the uncertainty of a cancer diagnosis.
Keep your eyes on the road for the Travelling Man Van as Murray might be the smiling guy behind the wheel!