I am a 57 year-old married father of seven children from Boston, MA. In life, we’ve always had ups and downs but nothing could have prepared me for the journey of the last few months.
If you’ve ever watched me on Big Brother or any of the charity events I’ve done after being on the show, you know my personality is considered to be larger than life. You might be happy to know that personality is really me – and I am my authentic self no matter the situation: be it a doctor’s office, a reality show, or at home with my family. Therefore, it’s probably no surprise to hear that when I went to my doctor for my routine yearly physical, I thought nothing of the nurse drawing my blood and focused on asking about her life and attempting to make jokes. I did think it was odd, however, when a week or so after that appointment I got a call from that doctor’s office and the doctor was on the line. I know from a family history of illness, the doctor never places the call unless it’s serious. He told me I had a high PSA level and I needed to come back to have a biopsy. Not only did I not know what a PSA level measures, I didn’t even want to guess what a high one meant. I asked some questions and told my wife and we planned a return trip to the doctor where I underwent a biopsy. A few weeks after that, I was at home with my family on a Sunday night when an unfamiliar number called my phone, it was the doctor telling me I had prostate cancer. For a moment, it seemed like that was the end but my family and all of the support from people around me – so many I’ve never even met in real life – reminded me it was the beginning and I was ready to fight.