I had heard the statistic, ‘1 in 7 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer’, but I never really thought it would apply to me, certainly not at this age and stage of my life. In November 2015, I was told the three words that no one ever wants to hear….”You have cancer.’ It still sends shivers through me to recall that moment, it is almost surreal but I do remember being very shocked, scared and frightened. Hearing the news that I had cancer was hard enough, but telling my two kids (who were 10 and 12 years old at the time) was even harder…seeing the fear in their faces is something that I never want to see or experience again.
I was 47 years old and way too young to be diagnosed with prostate cancer. I was a non-smoker, an avid runner, and in great physical shape. I was planning to run my 10th marathon in the next few months, but unfortunately with this news that plan would have to be put on hold.
And so began my journey with prostate cancer and my ‘relationship’ with the Prostate Cancer Centre. While I would certainly never consider having prostate cancer as a positive thing to have happen, I do consider myself very fortunate to have been living in Calgary and having access to the Prostate Cancer Centre.
In this day and age, we can be prone to over-exaggeration and the use of extreme superlatives when describing situations or experiences, however, I cannot say enough ‘amazing’ things about the staff and resources available to support patients and their families through their journey with prostate cancer.
Everything I could have ever wanted or needed throughout the course of my treatment was available at the Prostate Cancer Centre. From having my biopsy in September, to getting my diagnosis in November, finalizing my treatment plan in December, through to my post-surgery follow-up appointments and getting my life back to the ‘new’ normal, everything was available at the Prostate Cancer Centre. I did not have to travel all over the city, everything was conveniently available at this one place.
The staff were amazing, empathetic, compassionate and understanding and there was even a shoulder to cry on, literally, when I was feeling particularly low. I always felt there was somewhere I could go or someone I could talk to if needed.
Without trying to sound overly-dramatic, the Prostate Cancer Centre saves lives. I certainly feel like they saved mine and a year on, I can look forward to a healthy and happy Christmas with my wife and children.
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