Steve Birdsall is a 59-year old father of two sons. He’s also a custom furniture builder, a career he’s held for 40 years, a baseball coach, friend, son, and brother.
In May 2016, he was diagnosed with an advanced, aggressive form of prostate cancer. His urologist described his disease as a “game changer.”
As I drove home, my mind struggled to grasp at fragmented thoughts…at the harsh realization that I had wasted precious time by not confessing my symptoms to my doctor earlier. By that time, I had been having escalating symptoms for at least eight months. And in the back of my mind, it was prostate cancer that I feared, and in my fear, I tucked my head comfortably in the sand and let time pass, possibly time that would have spared my life.
Following his diagnosis, Steve was treated with surgery and hormone therapy. Still, his prognosis was only a few years, at best. As he went through the countless appointments, tests, scans, and education that went with his treatment, he could feel his energy level changing.
Now I carefully plan my time and I think about how I might be able to help others learn from my mistake. My denial. My fear and embarrassment. Those were the driving forces behind my delayed diagnosis.
Steve is dedicated to spreading awareness and educating men about prostate cancer. In August 2017 he embarked, along with his dog Janie, on a two-month road trip to spread the word. He’s traveling to many places in the U.S. that he’s always wanted to visit, with a prostate cancer ribbon on his truck to help raise awareness. He’s speaking to people along the way, ensuring the men and families he meets are educated about the disease. He’s also documenting his journey on his blog so that he might further share his story to encourage men to talk to their doctors about their risk.
Hopefully someone who is hiding from their symptoms will become bold, be treated, and be there to watch their kids’ lives unfold.
Now I have a new purpose. If I can save one life while I still have mine, this journey will not be in vain.