So it’s 2012 and I’m setting up a new life insurance policy. Part of the process is getting a routine physical.
“No big deal”, I think. I mean, I’m pretty healthy. Feel good. Stay active. The whole thing should be a breeze…right?
Among all the other checks, tests, scans, and all that I had to get was a PSA test. I knew it was to make sure everything was okay with my prostate, but I certainly wasn’t an expert at it. And I didn’t have to be. After all, I was healthy.
But then my PSA test comes back having raised a “yellow flag”.
A “yellow flag”? What does that even mean? I think. I’m told that the upper margin of safety a PSA test can measure is in the 4.0 area, but mine has come back a 4.5. This means a few more tests. A little more time. More trips to the doctor.
Before I know it, I’m getting treated for prostate cancer. Talk about an eye opener.
Cliché as it sounds, I’m a fighter. I wasn’t just determined to beat this thing, but to not let it rule my life. To not let it define me. To not just become a “cancer survivor”, but to become a “cancer butt-kicker”.
In fact, in an effort to not only get in better shape, stay active, but also to spend more time with my daughter, we decided to enter and run the Hot Chocolate 5k together in Philadelphia. It was memorable because not only did it become a great “daddy/daughter” experience, but we finished the race up at the famous “Rocky stairs” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. This was only two days after I started Androgen Deprivation Therapy (ADT) to treat my cancer.
I’ve run the gamut of emotions battling this thing. I started out really not knowing anything about prostate cancer. Then it was learning what a Gleason Score is and what it meant. Then it was “active surveillance”. Then it took hard left turn, being “more aggressive than we thought.”
Eighteen months, 40 rounds of radiation, and six months of ADT later…
…I “rang the bell”. I’d beaten prostate cancer.
I’m racing the 2018 TCS New York Marathon with Team ZERO this November because I’m living proof that early detection and treatment are utterly crucial in the fight against prostate cancer. Because when you detect it early, not only can you formulate a plan of attack…not only can you get treatment from the best doctors…not only can you fight prostate cancer…
…you can kick its butt.
Sometimes I’m asked why I enter these races; why I run.
I run to keep in good health. I run because it allows me to spend time with my (now not so) little girl. I run for myself as a cancer survivor.
But maybe most of all, I want to run for those that can’t run. It’s kind of funny – I told you about my first 5K a few lines above. Now this race. You could almost say that my cancer treatment journey has taken me all the way from the “Rocky Stairs” to the New York Marathon.