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Episode 3: Prostate Cancer and Dating

Prostate Cancer Unfiltered Podcast

Prostate Cancer and Dating – with guest Jon Di Gesu

Just six months after a divorce, Jon Di Gesu was diagnosed with prostate cancer. While navigating his prostate cancer journey, he quickly realized that there was a lack of resources for single men battling this disease. And if that wasn’t enough, he also faced numerous uphill battles in his search to find love again.

Hosted by ZERO President and CEO Jamie Bearse, the Prostate Cancer Uncensored podcast features unfiltered discussion with researchers, caregivers, patients, and medical professionals about how prostate cancer impacts sexuality. Listen online, or subscribe and download on your favorite podcasting platform. Episodes are available for listening on Apple PodcastsAnchor.fm, StitcherGoogle Podcasts, TuneInPlayerFMPocket CastsSpotifyPodBeanRadioPublic, and more.

Listen now on our website, download a PDF of the transcript, or read the full transcript below.

 

Series: 1, Episode 3: Prostate Cancer and Dating – Guest: Jon Di Gesu

Jamie Bearse: Hello, and welcome to Prostate Cancer Uncensored, a podcast produced by ZERO – The End of Prostate Cancer. I’m Jamie Bearse, CEO at ZERO.

Today’s podcast is all about dating and prostate cancer. We talk a lot about how this disease affects wives and partners, but what if you’re single? What if you’re dating? How do you talk about prostate cancer with someone you’re just getting to know or building a relationship with?

And I have to tell you I’ve been working with the prostate cancer cause for over 17 years now, and this topic has never come up in any conversation that I’ve been a part of. So, I’m excited to be able to bring some light to this.

And someone who has firsthand knowledge, firsthand experience with all of this is my guest today, Jon Di Gesu, prostate cancer survivor, fellow New Englander and my friend.

Jon, thanks for joining us today.

Jon Di Gesu: Thank you, Jamie. Great to be here, and I’m really happy to be talking about this topic because my journey was made a little bit more difficult, I believe, because I didn’t have the resources, as a single man, to figure out where I was with the disease and what followed it

Bearse: Right, and you’ve been through some significant adversity. You’ve been through a divorce.

Di Gesu: Yep.

Bearse: You had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and then also been really sort of forced to gain the courage to reenter the dating scene.

Di Gesu: True. Yes, that’s very true.

Bearse: And I can relate with you on the divorce part. I’ve been through a divorce a number of years ago. So, that can be painful enough to almost sort of just cash in your chips and say you know what I don’t want to be emotionally involved with anybody maybe ever. So, let’s start there. Let’s go back.

Your prostate cancer diagnosis came on the heels of your divorce.

Di Gesu: Right.

Bearse: So, take us back to that time in your life. Where were you sort of mentally and emotionally at that time?

Di Gesu: Well, I was married 28 years, and I’m the father of 3 fantastic daughters. And my marriage just fell apart. And it was a little bit of a shock to me and probably looking back not as big a shock as it was when it happened. But the marriage fell apart, and I was living in New Hampshire at that time. So, in that state, it was a relatively quick turnaround.

So within 6 months’ time I was divorced, and as I said earlier, it came as a shock. I had to reorganize my life. I had to move. Financially, it was a huge impact on me, and emotionally, it really tore my world apart because I was at a point at my age, I was 59 years old, and we were becoming empty nests. My youngest daughter was just about ready to graduate the University of New Hampshire, and we were at this point where what do we do next.

And I had ideas and plans for what empty nesting would be like. And none of it included divorce actually. But anyway, 6 months after the divorce – actually less than 6 months after the divorce – I had gone for my annual physical, and the doctor felt something unusual although my PSA was relatively normal.

He said with that protocol, we would have to wait about a year, but he said he didn’t think that was the right thing to do. So he sent me off to a urologist, and my cancer was confirmed after I had a biopsy. And I was told by an oncologist at Dana Farber here in Boston that I needed to act very quickly.

And it was one of those things that really threw me into a tailspin because I had just moved, I had just started a new life and just begun to think about what would be my next step. Will I be in a relationship? Will I not be in a relationship? And then the specter of prostate cancer was hanging over me. And, of course, I read a lot about it. I actually found ZERO at that time. I used a lot of resources that ZERO has to learn a little bit about what I was facing.

And two of the side effects after a radical prostatectomy – incontinence and ED – are not two things that you want to have when you’re about ready to launch into the dating world, into the single world as a 59-year-old, 60-year-old man.

I really was in kind of a place at that point where emotionally I was depressed, but I guess what I had to do was pull things together and get things done. And I think like most guys, I just started to make the punch list and go through it. And I focused on getting it done, getting the surgery over with. I also had a hernia at the same time. So, they repaired that. Getting that over with and then worrying about what lied ahead.

Bearse: That’s quite a lot to go through 6 months after a divorce to be told you have prostate cancer and then be facing, as you said, incontinence, ED, and to repair a hernia all at the same time while really thinking of what’s ahead. That’s just so hard to picture where you were mentally and emotionally at that time.

As I said before, I went through a divorce 16 years ago or so, and that’s enough to sort of really knock you back for quite a while and do some real introspection. So, I really admire you for everything that you’ve been through particularly in such a short period of time and to rebound the way that you have to be an amazing advocate for the prostate cancer cause and just really seize the day in your life and move forward.

Now, as I mentioned in the intro, there are resources for men and their wives and their partners going through prostate cancer but not really much for a single guy.

Di Gesu: No.

Bearse: So you went through doctor visits and follow-ups as a single man, and usually, most guys have their partner or have their wives kind of go with them to some of these treatments or go with them to some of these consultations, but you’re going in there solo. Tell me about that.

Di Gesu: I think the biggest shock, Jamie, was at the first meeting that I had with the urologist, and he said, well where’s your wife or your partner? And I said, well, I’m divorced, I’m single. And it was almost strange because the reaction was like oh well you should have someone with you.

And I had moved to a new city, a new apartment. I had three daughters. So, I didn’t think bringing my daughters along would have been the right thing even though they are adults. And my brothers both live hundreds of miles away. So, it wasn’t easy to have brothers and I have two very close friends. One’s in Virginia, and one’s in New York. Even though they were extremely supportive, I had to go it alone.

So, it was a little bit of a shock the first time I met with the urologist and the topic came up, but all of the subsequent meetings, I met with radiologists. I met with an oncologist. I had to do various things, as you know, tests and blood work and all of that, and just about every time I was asked the same question – do you have someone with you? No, I’m on my own. No, I’m on my own.

And after reading up on cancer in general, there’s always a recommendation to have someone go into appointments with you mainly because emotionally and psychologically you’re not really taking it all in. But I really, really had to figure out a way, and what I did is I took a notebook with me and took notes and tried to review what I was told, made a punch list and just followed it through.

But I have to say that at the emotional level constantly being asked where’s my wife or where’s my partner or where’s my coach or whoever, certainly depressed me a little bit because I felt more isolated and more alone.

I did actually meet a prostate cancer survivor, and I reached out to a local prostate cancer organization. And they were very helpful as far as getting the information as was ZERO, but again, there really wasn’t anything there about navigating the disease as a single person, as a single guy. And following that, of course, I think the bigger challenge was navigating the dating scene and navigating life after prostate cancer. 

Bearse: Yeah, and you had a prostatectomy, which means you had your prostate removed, which can for a lot of men have a lot of side effects which you had mentioned which is incontinence and erectile dysfunction. That really puts a damper, a great difficulty on a number of life experiences, I guess, if you will. Let’s just get to it. I imagine that it has a great impact on being able to have full sexual function and satisfaction.

So you’re going through that, and then you’re starting to think about jumping back into the dating scene. How do you sort of reconcile like all right I probably need to regain some of this control or heal some of these side effects before jumping into the dating scene? Or did you? What were you thinking?

Di Gesu: Well, I love the choice of the word damper because I did have both. I had incontinence. I had ED. In both cases I couldn’t imagine myself being attractive. I think all of us with prostate cancer go through that I’m not a man anymore thinking. I think we all kind of say oh we’re not a complete man. So, lay that over the potential of going out on dates and meeting women, it really, really hits the confidence level.

I was incontinent. I was wearing Depends and pads, and I really couldn’t imagine being in a very romantic, intimate situation and there you are in your Depends. So, that certainly was a little bit of a turnoff. And then ED. Certainly, I guess what went through my mind was what do I have to offer a woman? Why would a woman want to be interested in me? And I think the difference is if you’re partnered – you have a wife, you have a partner – that person has hopefully made the commitment to go through the journey with you.

When you don’t have a partner, there’s no one there committed to going through the journey. What’s your opener? Hi, I’m incontinent and I have erectile dysfunction, you want to go out with me?

It really, really weighs heavily on you when you start jumping into the dating scene.

Bearse: Yeah, you probably don’t get very many winks on your dating profile if you have that on there.

Di Gesu: You wouldn’t put that up, I don’t think. So, I guess for a while there, I just didn’t get involved. It was a good 8, 10 months after I had my surgery that I really didn’t get involved. I really didn’t put on a full court press. However, I had moved into a renovated mill building in Manchester, New Hampshire right on the Merrimack river. A very cool place filled with a lot of millennials, a lot of young professionals, a lot of recently divorced people, and a lot of empty nesters in transition.

Bearse: Very pretty place in the world by the way, I found, for people who’ve never been.

Di Gesu: Yeah. It’s a great little city. There was an opportunity to kind of start socializing with folks, and I was invited to go to pubs and bars and a number of restaurants in Manchester. I made a couple of good friends, and that started opening up my social life. Not my dating life but my social life. And it gave me a little bit more confidence.

And it wasn’t until a friend and coworker sat me down and said we’ve got to get you on one of the dating sites, we’ve got to get you out there. And I was still dealing with incontinence. I was still dealing with the ED.

Bearse: Yeah, what did you say to him or her that said that we need to get you on one of these dating sites? What was the first reaction?

Di Gesu: My first reaction was no, I’m not ready. And he said to me, well you’re never going to be ready unless you do it. You’ve got to jump in. And around the same time, I had a visit with my urologist. And I brought this up. I said, you know, I’m a single guy, I’m really struggling. I want to have a relationship. I want to jumpstart dating, but you know, I have these issues.

One of the things that he said to me that stuck with me was look you had cancer. He said, if you meet a woman, and that’s a problem for that woman then you don’t want to be with her anyway.

Bearse: And this was your urologist that said that?

Di Gesu: Yeah, my urologist had said that.

Bearse: Does he also have a psychology degree? That’s pretty good. That’s pretty smart, I’d say.

Di Gesu: He’s a great guy. And maybe he had had this conversation with someone else at one point or another. I don’t know. But that stuck with me and helped me get enough nerve up to get on a dating site and start looking for someone, looking for love.

At the same time, things started to improve. I graduated from Depends to pads. I still every once in a while, have a little bit of an accident here or there, but I’m good with it. It’s under control. And ED, I was trying a variety of different approaches to kind of getting things working again. And my urologist had prescribed – we tried Cialis. We’ve tried Viagra. Viagra seemed to help me. And that gave me a little bit more confidence as well to get out there and start dating.

Bearse: I was lucky enough to host a podcast last time with a sex medicine doctor who’s wonderful, Dr. Rachel Rubin. And during that podcast, she had said about men going through prostate cancer and really dealing with side effects particularly around erectile dysfunction to remember – I can’t remember the exact percentage that she said – but she said it was less than 20% of women orgasm with penetration only. One, remember that, and two, is that many women view intimacy as something much more than time in the bedroom.

Did that ever come up in any of your conversations as you were getting back into the dating world? To look at it that way in terms of… because you had said what do I have to offer a woman, and we just joked about the dating profile of men with prostate cancer and erectile dysfunction and all that. At what point did that sort of enter your mind as you were getting ready to jump back into the dating scene, if ever?

Di Gesu: It’s an interesting question. I think I was more having a crisis of confidence. I was kind of confident enough to go out on a date and engage with a woman and talk and have dinner and drinks. Where my problem was what happens once you like that person enough to want to be intimate with that person?

I went on several dates, and quite honestly, we didn’t click. We didn’t click on other levels. So, I was matched up by one of my friends, and it was one of those disaster dates, but it was all a learning experience for me. It was all good because it gave me the confidence to keep pushing ahead and keep trying to meet someone.

So, I’m trying to think of how I would answer that question. The erectile dysfunction was always there. I think it wasn’t until I met the woman I’m with now that I began to learn about what that doctor said that intimacy is important. That you don’t have to hit a home run every time. I happen to be now with a very understanding woman who loves me for who I am.

Bearse: That’s awesome.

Di Gesu: So, I think that if I was to give advice to other guys – just go out there. It’s the same advice you’d give your 14-year-old son. Just go out there and be yourself. When you get to the point of intimacy, maybe have that conversation with that person. And if you’re at that point, it may not be that important conversation to have if you know what I mean.

Bearse: I know that your confidence was shook, but did you always have the hope there that you’d regain your sexual function and eventually be a partner or was that sort of always I guess maybe a dark cloud in your mind even entering back into dating scene?

Di Gesu: Yeah, no. I went through a rollercoaster of emotional reactions to both incontinence and ED. There were times where I had the confidence and thought yes there’s something out there. There’s someone else out there for you.

I mean, as you know, Jamie, after a divorce, you have the same question. Will there ever be anyone else? Will I find someone else? Do I want to find someone else? The same thing was coming up now but in spades because I had the divorce, and then I had cancer. So, no, I really went through a rollercoaster of emotions where some days I’d say it was over. I wasn’t going to meet anyone. I’m not going anywhere or maybe after a date with someone that didn’t work out, is it really worth it? I think those are just normal reactions whether you have cancer or not.

One thing I can say is that my best friend’s wife was going through breast cancer at the same time I was going through prostate cancer. And even though she lives in Virginia, we talked often. And what I found in her that was helpful is that she and I both felt that we were no longer a whole man or a whole woman. And I think breast cancer survivors have similar reactions and probably cervical cancer or ovarian cancer survivors.

So, we talked to one another very frankly about the fact that we really felt like we weren’t whole anymore. And I think by sharing that with someone particularly a woman, it was really good for me. And it was really good for her. I think we helped one another say wait a minute we’re still worth something. We’re still good people. We’re still worth loving.

Bearse: Yeah, I can relate. And what I’m about to say is not to try to even put myself in the same category of what you and your friend went through in terms of going through prostate cancer or breast cancer, but quite a number of years ago, I got sober. So I’m a recovering alcoholic for more than 20 years now. But I remember going through that whole experience for that first couple of years, and you really question your self-worth – Am I a whole person? Could somebody really care for me? Could I have a relationship where I feel less than or I’m sort of broken, so to speak? And would somebody love that? And am I worthy of that?

So, I can kind of relate on that level but certainly not on a having to live through cancer and go through what you went through. It takes quite a bit of courage.

Di Gesu: It takes courage to do what you did too as well, Jamie. I don’t think they’re that different in a lot of ways because it’s what you think and what you have in your head, right?

Bearse: Yeah, it’s all the narrative that we tell ourselves. We fill in these gaps in our mind where we don’t have information, and we tell ourselves this false narrative of what may not be true that can kind of be deflating sometimes.

You mentioned it a little bit but take me back to your first date after diagnosis. I can only imagine how nervous you might have been, or you had mentioned you’re in a relationship now, which is amazing. What was the first date with her like? Particularly because you know you’ve got prostate cancer. She doesn’t know it yet. I’m still you’re still going through the rollercoaster of a little bit of anxiety, depression. You’re still going through the rollercoaster of pads and perhaps erectile dysfunction, and she doesn’t know any of this yet.

So, you go on your first date. Tell me about your nerves. Tell me about what’s going through your head?

Di Gesu: Well, we met on eHarmony, which is an interesting platform because you have to do a lot of work with eHarmony. There’s a lot of questions and you go back and forth. You start with a little smile at one another and then you build up to you send 5 questions and 5 questions and 5 answers. So it was a couple of weeks of kind of online chatter, and I wrote to Francine. Her name is Francine. I wrote to her, and I said, do you think it’s time for us to meet?

I kind of play the games by the rules. I had never really been on dating sites, and eHarmony said that the first thing you need to do is connect online and set up a date and you meet for coffee or a glass of wine and it should have a very specific time – 1 hour. So this is what I was envisioning, and Francine wrote back to me and she said here’s my phone number, which broke all the rules.

Bearse: She broke all the rules? You’re following them.

Di Gesu: I’m following all the rules, and she broke them. And she said, here’s my phone number give me a call. And I did. And I called her, and she said, well, why don’t we meet for brunch? I was like, well, that’s against the rules. We’re not supposed to meet for brunch.

Anyway, she was in the Boston area. I was in Manchester, New Hampshire. A little bit more than an hour away from one another. So we met here in the Boston area. I drove down. I got there early like a good Boy Scout, and I was very nervous. Of course, I was nervous.

And this woman walked in the restaurant…

Bearse: And she still doesn’t know any of this, right?

Di Gesu: No, she doesn’t know.

Bearse: Okay.

Di Gesu: This woman walks into the restaurant, and my heart kind of jumps because she looked like someone I wanted to be with. She looked like her pictures online. She had a big smile. She was very well dressed. And we sat down at around 11:30. And we left one another at around 4:00. So, it was a marathon brunch where we talked about everything. 

And, at one point, I kind of blurted out, well, I had prostate cancer.

Bearse: Over brunch?

Di Gesu: Over brunch. And I’ll tell you, honestly, it was one of the things that I kept talking to myself…

Bearse: So how does that come out? Did you say like how are your Eggs Benedict, and by the way, I’ve got prostate cancer?

Di Gesu: I guess we were talking about, you know, our lives, and she was also divorced. We were talking about that and when this happened timeline and all of that good stuff, and I think I just blurted it out. But I had coached myself all the way down that I wasn’t going to tell her that, not on the first date.

Bearse: So could you see the words that you said that I have prostate cancer floating through the air toward her ears, and you were like shit I want to bring that back? 

Di Gesu: Right, exactly. How do I undo this? And she paused. And what I expected to happen was for her to stand up and run out of the restaurant screaming. I mean that’s how absurd where my head was. And I said, oh my gosh, you know, how do I get this back?

And she said, I know a lot of men who have it. I’ve dated several men who’ve had prostate cancer, and she said, and actually my ex-husband had prostate cancer. So it kind of floated there for a minute. It was this pregnant kind of moment, and then we just moved on to other things.

And we agreed that we would start dating. But I think one of the funnier stories is we went out on several dates, and because of the distance, we met halfway between Manchester and Boston.

Bearse: It sounds like you had some dates down the street from my house then. That’s pretty much where I am.

Di Gesu: Well, we met in Chelmsford.

Bearse: Yes, that’s the town right next to me.

Di Gesu: Yep, we met there a couple of times.

Bearse: It’s funny. Small world. Of course, everybody listening is going where the hell are all these towns I’m always talking about? Sorry. So, you’re meeting in the middle going through these dates?

Di Gesu: We’re meeting in the middle, and then finally at one point – it’s just a couple of weeks’ time, so we meet in November. And somewhere around the beginning of December, she comes up to Manchester and we go to one of my favorite restaurants. And we have this very, very romantic dinner. And we drink way too much. And she said to me, well, I don’t think I can drive home. So, I said, well, you certainly can stay at my place. Where everybody’s head is going right now is not where it went.

I was so scared to put the moves on this woman that I suggested that she sleep in the guest room and I sleep in my room. And I was a perfect gentleman. And the next morning, I made her breakfast and we had this great conversation. And she took off, and I was kicking myself thinking, well, now she thinks I’m really useless. But actually, she was very impressed by that. And all of her friends were super impressed because I was taking it slow. I wasn’t pushing myself on her. I was, in a sense, being a gentleman.

And that actually strengthened our relationship. It didn’t weaken it at all.

Bearse: So when it finally got to the point where it’s time that you both decide to be intimate take us through that. What’s going through your head? What maybe is going through her head? I don’t mean to be so flippant about it, but are you like hold on honey, I need to go into the bathroom and do something with these pads? Take us through that. What’s the lead up there?

Di Gesu: Okay, a week or so after that, she invited me down here for dinner. And she’s French, so she made Lapin, which is rabbit. I like rabbit, and the French make it in a really nice way. And so we had rabbit for dinner. We had some nice bottle of French wine. And things got romantic.

Bearse: Is rabbit an aphrodisiac? I’m not sure. It was that night maybe.

Di Gesu: I think maybe that was a hidden message. I don’t know. One thing led to another, and we slept together that night. And that was the first night. By some miracle – I certainly had prepared. I kind of figured that I was being invited here for dinner, and I kind of hoped that things would move in the right direction.

Bearse: I think the kids these days call it Netflix and chill, don’t they?

Di Gesu: Yeah, Netflix and chill.

Bearse: You were ready for Netflix and chill.

Di Gesu: I think also she was expecting and hoping that something happened. And I prepared, and it worked. Everything worked beautifully. And think one of the things that also was a challenge as a single guy maybe going back is the fact that when you have a partner, when you have a wife, you have someone to share intimacy with. When you’re single, you don’t. And even though doctors tell you there’s certain exercises you should do in the shower, certain ways to make sure that things are working, when you don’t have an object, when you don’t have someone that you’re in love with or interested in, an object of your affections, it’s pretty difficult to put it quite frankly to get things up.

So, I think that once I started developing this relationship with Francine, I started to have a person, an object of my affections, somebody that I wanted to be intimate with, and it made things easier.

Bearse: So you said exercises in the shower. We’re not talking about singing in the shower. What are we talking about? 

Di Gesu: Oh, we’re talking about masturbation is what my urologist recommended.

Bearse: Now, why did he say in shower?

Di Gesu: I don’t know. I guess maybe because the environment is warm. Maybe because it’s wet. The recommendation that I had gotten was that you should get up every morning and do that in the shower.

Bearse: Right, and you didn’t need a prescription for that, you could just do that without getting a prescription.

Di Gesu: For what?

Bearse: For, you know, masturbating in the shower.

Di Gesu: No, I don’t think you need a prescription for that. I feel like a 13-year-old boy, but no, you don’t need a prescription.

Bearse: Well, that brings, as you said before, the advice someone would give their 14‑year-old son going on a first date. I mean, at least that brings some youthfulness back into your spirit, I suppose.

So, you did an amazing blog post for us at ZERO where you offer tips for single men who have prostate cancer. So, can you tell our listeners who are tuning in now what is some of that advice that you shared in that? Now, obviously, we’re going to direct them to the blog post, but what advice do you have for guys that are single out there going through prostate cancer that are trying to put themselves back into the dating world?

Di Gesu: I think number one you’re still a man. Don’t listen to the narrative that because you’ve lost a part of your body and because things are working exactly the way they did when you were 21. You’re still a man.

The other thing that I found very helpful was there’s the old expression just say no, well I turned that into just say yes. And whenever anyone asked me out – for instance, I’m not a very big football fan at all, but there were a couple of people in my building who would go every Sunday down to a local pub and watch the Patriots play. And they’d ask me to join then, and every Sunday, I went and watched the Patriots play. I had a couple of beers and met a lot of people.

So, I would say put yourself out on a limb and just do things. Don’t think about it. Just do things. Somebody says, want to go to a movie and you’re not interested in the movie, just go to the movie because it just gets you out.

Also, you have to break the narrative that no one will love you and no one will care about you. I think you have to keep telling yourself that you’re capable of giving love and being loved. I think you have to trust yourself and the people that you might meet. One of the things that I learned was taking it slow. Not jumping before you’re ready. Maybe just giving yourself a little space and giving the woman you’re with a little space.

The message that my urologist told me that if your cancer scares somebody off then that’s not the right person, I thought that was very helpful for me. Once I told Francine, and her reaction was okay, let’s see how things go. She didn’t run out of the restaurant screaming. That kind of said she might be the right person for me.

Be open about sex. I think a lot of guys – and I was one of them – your mentality was get the job done. Prostate cancer has created a very different sexual me. I think most guys can relate to that. I don’t orgasm all the time. It takes me longer to get excited. Sometimes things work, and sometimes they don’t. But a lot of these things aren’t negative because it takes a lot of emphasis off of me and on her. And so we can enjoy one another. And fortunately, we’re very open about it. And sometimes we just laugh about it.

And the other thing I would say is just keep trying. Try, try, try again. Don’t believe that your life is over because maybe the right person doesn’t come along or because physically, you’re not acting like you were when you were in your twenties.

The relationship I’m in right now is really fantastic, and I’m very grateful for it. We’ve been together now 3 years, so I don’t know if that’s still a new relationship. I guess it is. But sometimes I feel like I’m back in my college years with Francine because we have a lot of intimacy. Quite honestly, we have a lot of sex. And for two 64-year-old people, I think we sometimes feel like we’re 20-somethings.

And what’s more important than that is we share a lot of interests where we love to travel. We’re actually leaving on Friday for the Azores for a week, and around Christmastime, we’ll be heading out to France to visit her family as we’ve done the past 3 years.

Bearse: That’s beautiful. I’m so happy. All of us at ZERO are happy that you’ve indeed found love again and going on all of these adventures with Francine and having an amazing life after prostate cancer to the point that you feel like you’re in your college days again. And I think I just heard you say that you’re having a lot of intimacy and having a lot of sex. It’s probably the envy for most guys out there. I don’t know. But I’m thrilled for you. That’s wonderful.

Di Gesu: Thank you.

Bearse: Jon, we at ZERO are thrilled that you found happiness and love again. We know your story will bring hope to men listening right now who may be in the same situation that you were a few years ago. And I want to thank you very much for not only joining us today but having the courage and vulnerability to really open up and share your story to inspire other guys to step forward to seize their sexuality and feel like they’re whole again. 

Di Gesu: Thank you, Jamie, and if there’s any guys out there that would want to talk to me, please feel free to share my contact information. I’ll always be willing to talk to guys going through this.

Bearse: Terrific! We have a mentor program as you know. This is for our listeners. But we have a mentor program where we match up prostate cancer patients and survivors with newly diagnosed patients or patients who are just new to our community and matching them up based on some of the same concerns or side effects or where you are in your disease state so you can be sounding boards for each other and really share experience, strength and hope around prostate cancer and some of the other ancillary issues that go along with the disease. So, I want to thank you for being a mentor and continuing to offer being that.

This podcast is part of a series on prostate cancer and sex. Go to zerocancer.org to download our series, and you can also read Jon’s blog there too. And we’re also on a number of streaming platforms including Spotify.

Thank you again for listening to Prostate Cancer Uncensored. I’m your host, Jamie Bearse.