When I started blogging I knew that God would use my story to reach others, but I had no idea where he would take me on this journey. My daugther and techie behind the blog, Stephanie, has been a driving force on helping me to expand my reach and consider a variety of topics. My blog has been slowly evolving to reach a bigger cause. Its a combination of my life and health stories, your stories and it’s my hope its helping to empower all of our lives.
Now I’m so excited for the first time ever to share a guest blog post from a male perspective and deliver the important message about being tested for Prostate Cancer.
This is a story from a new aquaintance I’m so delighted to have made. Eddie has a powerful story that combines his research, persistence and faith which are all key in his recovery. It is our hope that his message will encourage someone to get screened for Prostate Cancer, as well as diabetes and high blood pressure.
“I shall pass through this world but once; Any good I can do, or any kindness that I can show any human being, let me do it now and not defer it. For I shall not pass this way again. ~Eddie Jackson”
Guest Blog Post 4: Encouraging Others to Get Screened, I had an elevated Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) by Eddie Jackson
I grew in New Orleans. After a stint in the Air Force, I relocated to Upstate New York where I held positions at GE and subsequently with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), the oldest engineering school in the Nation. I retired from RPI in 2006.
I had always, by and large, enjoyed good health. I’d had a scrape with a telephone pole when I fell asleep behind the wheel from exhaustion at one point and paid dearly for that error in judgment, but I’d never experienced any kind of disease or sickness. That all changed in 1999. I’d seen my doctor for a routine check-up, just as I always done annually, and scheduled an appointment to go over the results. During that visit, my doctor recommended that I see a specialist (urologist) because there was an irregularity in my blood test results. Naturally, I started to become a little concerned, but decided not to second guess anything and to just make the appointment. As it turned out, the blood test indicated that I had an elevated Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) reading which suggested that I may have prostate cancer. A PSA reading of 4 or lower is considered normal. My PSA reading was 24! A biopsy confirmed my worst fears.
The next few days were excruciatingly painful from the shock of all this bad news, not knowing what was next. Was I going to die? How can this be? I felt just fine. And there-in lies one of the problems. There are no symptoms with prostate cancer in the early stages, and by the time you’d start to show symptoms, it is usually too late. The disease is sometimes referred to as the “silent killer.”
After I got over the initial shock, I got busy downloading every bit of information I could find on prostate cancer. I found out that a cause could not be determined, that treatments varied depending on your individual circumstance. It’s important to be informed in order to have an intelligent conversation with your health providers, to know what certain terms mean, what questions to ask. I found out that the ‘Gold Standard’ for treatment at that time, if the cancer was confined to the prostate, was to remove it. In my particular circumstance, that was not an option because the cancer had gotten out of the box, so to speak, and had spread to a connecting gland, the seminal vesicle. The treatment plan collectively decided upon (me, an urologist, and oncologist) was for me to undergo hormone therapy for a year (designed to shrink cancer tumors) followed by 8 weeks (five days per week) of radiation therapy.
After completing treatment, my psa is being monitored on a regular basis and is being controlled by medication.
I’ve talked about my experience with this disease with men’s groups and impressed upon them the importance of screening. Diagnosed early enough, there are many options for treatment of this problem. African American men are more prone to develop this disease than any other race. More Afro American also die from this disease than any other race. That condition is probably due to lack of access to medical attention and in many cases, because of macho attitudes. Part of the exam for prostate cancer is a digital rectal exam, and some men have a real problem with that. But hell, if that’s part of the effort to save your life, bring it on. I’m happy that a few men listened to what I’ve had to say, got themselves screened and found that they did, in fact, have the disease. They are receiving treatment and are doing well and are expected to be cured. Screening is the key and early detection can save your life.
My faith has always been strong and I give God the credit for me being alive and in relative good health almost 12 years after diagnosis. Prayer really does change things.
- Prostate Cancer Foundation: Living with Prostate Cancer Questions to Ask your doctor (link).
- Biomarker Analysis | Prostate Cancer Test Caris Life Sciences. Caris Target Now can be used with any solid cancer such as lung cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer. The Caris Target Now test is performed after a cancer diagnosis has been established and the patient has exhausted standard of care therapies or if questions in therapeutic management exist. Using tumor samples obtained from a biopsy, the tumor is examined to identify biomarkers that may have an influence on therapy.
- American Cancer Society – Questions to ask my doctor: About prostate cancer (link)
- The 10 mistakes every patient makes (link) by Author, Trisha Torrey, You Bet Your Life!
Your Options for Low-Risk Prostate Cancer The content of this website is based on a comprehensive review of the different options for low-risk prostate cancer conducted by the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. The review included input from experts around the nation; and the design of this website was created in consultation with experts from Boston Medical Center, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Vanguard/Atrius Health, Massachusetts General Hospital and Tufts Medical Center.
If you would like to write to Eddie with questions please send your letters to me firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line “Questions for Eddie”.
With love and God’s Blessings,
Email Me: email@example.com
E-mail the techie behind the Chat With Dee Dee (Blog, Facebook & Twitter pages) who happens to be my daughter.