If it weren’t for PSA testing, we never would have known my husband had prostate cancer. Like most men, he didn’t have any symptoms. It was an incidental urinary infection that led to his diagnosis at the young age of 49.
Because he was so young, we decided on the most aggressive approach—radical prostatectomy. Surgery was not easy, but within a few months, my husband was back to his old self and we were feeling confident that we had “beaten the beast.”
Two years later we received a telephone call from his urologist that rocked our world once again. My husband’s PSA was slowly on the rise. In some ways, the news of prostate cancer the second time around was more difficult than the initial diagnosis. In the beginning, we had high hopes for a complete cure. Now we know that was impossible.
Fortunately, his medical team felt the cancer was still localized in the area where the prostate cancer had been. He had hormone therapy for six months and then eight weeks of external bean radiation therapy. He exercised every day, and didn’t miss a day of work. Toward the very end of radiation treatment, however, he was pretty sluggish.
I can identify with wives and partners who struggle with the devastating side effects of hormone therapy. It was only a short time for us, but it took my husband about a year to totally shake off the physical and emotional effects of hormone treatment. I look forward to the day when researchers come up with something that doesn’t take such a toll on men—and their loved ones.
I’m grateful to God that it’s been two-and-a-half years since my husband’s last treatment and his PSA remains undetectable. I’m also encouraged that there are a more resources for wives and partners today than there were when we first started our journey. I try to play a small role in that with an information and support website I developed for wives and partners, called hisprostatecancer.com.
Prostate cancer was my husband’s disease, but it affected both of us. Today I tell wives and partners, “It’s your cancer too.” If there is any “gift” that prostate cancer gave us, it is the appreciation to live every moment to its fullest. We don’t know what the future holds, but we try not to worry.
There’s way too much to be thankful for.