If cancer doesn't get you, treatment side effects might!

About Side Effects

Today I completed my fourth week of recovery since undergoing prostate cancer surgery. The healing process has gone quite well. The only noticeable condition that I'm experiencing is that of periodic daily fatigue and tiredness. My doctors assure me that that's an expected outcome of the effort my body is expending to heal itself. The good news is that I've been told that I might be a little ahead of schedule.

The tough news is that when I'm more fully healed additional treatments will be required to battle the remaining cancer. 

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An open letter for family and friends

Dear God. Re Grinch
Just a few days ago I wrote the following letter to my children and family. I like to keep them informed about how I'm doing, just as I like to know when there is something in one of their lives that may be of some concern. There's a lot of us and we live in several states and countries. It's not easy to connect with everyone at the same time so I write and follow-up with a call. 

I've learned that I have been blessed with many friends who are also spread by distance. I decided to share this letter publicly because so many of you have offered prayers, support, and expressed interest in knowing how things progress. I appreciate you all. But I won't be following up with a call.

Dear family,
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Recovery - Five Days After Surgery

At home recoveryIt's been five days since I was wheeled into surgery to have prostate cancer removed from my body. The SCCA medical team - working at the University of Washington Medical Center - did an excellent job while being compassionate and aware of my feelings. When it was over Dr. Ellis came to visit Cindy and me and said that the five hour surgery went well and that he's hopeful that he was able to "get it all." Of course, when cancer cells are microscopic, we won't know that until the pathology report comes back next later this week.
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But the greatest of these is LOVE

Faith Hope loveIn just twenty minutes Cindy and I will leave home and head for the UW Medical Center. We are scheduled to check in at 10:00 with a prostectomy beginning at 11:30. I'm all set and decided to take these last few minutes to reflect on what has shown up all around me. Time is short, so this will just be free form - quick and easy.

There have been so many people extending their prayers, well-wishes, and encouragement to me. I feel blessed to have so many people who care in my life.

The power of prayer is evident and real. I know I wouldn't feel this confident and unafraid without it.

Love is such a special emotion in our lives. It can be felt from hundreds and thousands of miles away. I'm feeling it big time.

Family is the greatest source of energy and love that a man can have. At the end of the day family is what we came into the world with and what we will leave behind.

Faith is a requirement that is sometimes taken for granted. Not just our faith in God, but a more earthly faith in the surgeon, anethesiologist, and all the hands that will get a patient through their day of surgery. I sure hope my medical team is having a very good day!

"And now these three remain: Faith, Hope, Love. But the greatest of these is LOVE" - 1 Corinthians 13:13

Forget Cancer

Christmas 15There are times when a person forgets that he has prostate cancer. It happens when he's out shopping for his wife's Christmas present; when he's picking his son and granddaughter up at the airport; when he's trimming a fresh tree with family ornaments; when he's cheering on a Seahawk win; and when the house is filled with laughter while gathering for dinners of pizza or Chinese food.
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Movember Monday - Talking Radiation

Mo Mo
When Movember officially ends (Monday, Movember 30th) my search for the most appropriate treatment for prostate cancer really ramps up. I'll be meeting with five specialists during the coming week and plan to make a treatment decision shortly thereafter.

Monday is all about radiation therapy. 
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Movember Apple Cup Challenge

Apple Cup Movember
Happy Thanksgiving Coug and Dawg Fans. I'm thankful for all of you (even the ones that wear purple and gold). I have a few days left in Movember and I'm less than $400 away from the $5000 fundraising goal I set. So let's have a little friendly competition.

For every dollar donated to my Movember campaign between now and tomorrow a point will be generated. The donor simply indicates which team to credit their points to by putting "Go Cougs" or "Go Dawgs" into their comment line. Double points will be awarded on gifts of $50 or more.

I'll even wear the school colors of the winning team to work for a day next week. How's that for incentive Husky fans? (I'm not worried. Cougs are a lot more generous!)

So let's get the Movember Apple Cup started right away. Click here to contribute and score some Movember Apple Cup points! 

So Many Choices - Prostate Cancer

Book ProstateI'm finding that there are a lot of opinions and a lot of treatment options when it comes to prostate cancer. Talk to the men who have been through it and you frequently hear the enthusiasm that each of them has for the doctor they used and the procedure that they chose. Talk to the specialists and you'll hear about the course of care that they are focused on and the challenges that alternatives provide. The choices all come with serious side effects and a level of uncertainty. There's not an absolute direction that the medical profession has settled
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The First 10 Days

Awareness ProstateIt's been ten days since my new urologist, Dr. Marquez, confirmed what we both suspected. That was the day he told Cindy and I that the biopsy he'd performed confirmed that I have prostate cancer. It was the day that I found myself in a place that was both familiar and unknown. While the setting and doctor were different, the conversation was eerily similar to the one I'd listened intently to when we were told about Cindy's breast cancer and later about her lymphoma. Unknown, because this time the words were about my body and the cancer that was attacking it. This time I would be the fighter and, just a few days after learning that her cancer was finally in remission, Cindy would be in my corner. Our roles were now reversed.

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A Movember To Remember


The mustache growing month for raising awareness and money to "change the face of men's health" is underway and the hard to see fuzz growing on my upper lip is gaining length. This year - while unplanned and unexpected - is going to be different from the others. Nine days into the month, I found out that I have prostate cancer.

This is my story.

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Plenty more in the Archives

The Fine Print

Rod Brooks (that's me) is VP & CMO of PEMCO Mutual Insurance Company and serves as Immediate Past Chair of the Board of Directors for the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA).  It's important to disclose both of those relationships and to be clear that this is my personal blog where I share thoughts and opinions that are solely my own.  Contact me!

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