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,

Well here we all are again. Just a couple days before Christmas and most of you are where you are going to be on that special day. I know that the houses with children must be high on laughter and anticipation by now. I wish that I could be with every single one of you (well... I actually prefer not being in Kosovo but it would be great for Craig to be here with us!)

I'm writing to let you know what Cindy and I have learned from my doctor and the pathology report. I wish it was 100% outstanding, but that isn't the case. While it's much better than it could have been, there are still enough imperfections that I'll be learning about additional courses of treatment. It's not my intention to put a damper on a very happy time for anyone, but each of you have told me that you want to know when I find something out.
The pathology report was sent to me by email and then the doctor called to discuss it a little while later. The bottom line is that I still have cancer in my body but no one can say how much with any certainty.

They removed 23 lymph nodes from my abdomen during the surgery and all of them were clean except for one. That one had cancer cells that were actually pretty small and the lymph node that it was found in was one that was closest to the prostate (we think). What that means is that the cancer might not have traveled very far. Hard to say.

They also removed both of my seminal vesicles and both were found to have cancer in them as well.

The last piece of unfortunate news is that the margins (edges) of the tissue that they removed weren't completely clear of cancer. That means that since the edges aren't clean, the place they were cut from is very likely not clear as well.

So those are the big news items. I have a doctors appointment tomorrow to get the tubes out and to learn some more about next steps.

The doctor told us that they will be checking my PSA to see if it goes down to zero (which it should if there's no cancer) a couple times in the next few months. He also said that he's pretty sure I'll have to get treated with hormones and radiation too. My body has to heal before that can happen. I'll be setting up more appointments with my radiation oncologist to discuss options. The surgeon isn't really the right opinion for what's next.

So that's it for now. I'm disappointed but not feeling at all defeated. Just have to battle longer than I'd hoped to get on the road to being a cured survivor.

I'm feeling good and my recovery has been pretty painless. Still needed lots of rest and healing, but it's not like I'm doing hard time or anything.

Love you all,


PS - The tubes were removed without issue on Tuesday. Everything is working fine!

Add A New Comment

  • Larry Coffman
    Jan. 6, 2016
    Rod: Your attitude is absolutely inspiring. Know you’ll keep up the good fight—and win! Larry
  • Sally Sund
    Dec. 25, 2015
    Speechless with Deb and Joe here at the canal on Christmas morning. Prayers of healing being sent. We love you Rod and everything you bring to life. Keep fighting and we will continue to pray for all that cancer to go away!

  • david hulbert
    Dec. 24, 2015
    Rod. Thank you for the taking the time and having the concern for others to give us this update!
    So glad that you have a great team and, given who you are,I am certain that you will be well very soon and 'bugging us' once again with your wonderful selfies!
    Blessings on Christmas and into 2016. Dave Hulbert

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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