'Super Bowl of life': Prostate cancer patient gets the gift of more time

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Donald%20Lowd049.jpgBy Sarah Watson

"You can't let a problem contain you. You have to contain the problem." That's Donald Lowd's motto.

So the Air Force veteran was ready to fight when he received his prostate cancer diagnosis in 2009.

"Most people will say my life changed in 2009," Donald says. "I say that's when my fight began."

Seeking prostate cancer treatment 
From the beginning of his prostate cancer battle, Donald knew he needed the best team to help him win the fight for his life. One oncologist told him he'd probably die in five years, but he refused to accept those odds.

"That's when I said to my wife, I'm headed to MD Anderson," says Donald, who works primarily in imaging at a retina practice in Houston. A physician he works with encouraged him to see Christopher Logothetis, M.D., chair, Genitourinary Medical Oncology at MD Anderson.

Donald says his battle started as soon as he scheduled his first appointment.

He calls those days a "Super Bowl of life."

"It's the third quarter, and I'm losing," he says. "I needed synergy to help me. I started with support from my family around me, people at work and a great medical team at MD Anderson. And of course I relied on my faith."

After Logothetis ordered more scans, he found a spot on one of Donald's ribs that his previous doctor had missed. It was about the size of a pencil eraser.

Donald started his prostate cancer treatment by enrolling in a clinical trial to protect his bones. In June 2010, after undergoing chemotherapy to shrink the prostate tumor, Donald had surgery. Two weeks later, he returned to work and his normal routine.

In June 2013, Donald started having back pain due to new tumors. He underwent surgery again. It went well, but recovery was harder this time. He didn't return to work until December.

The gift of more time

Donald says he enjoys a great patient-doctor relationship with Logothetis and appreciates his "upfront" approach. Most important, Donald says, "He's given me more time."

Donald says there's no comparison to the combination of expertise and caring at MD Anderson.

"I've felt so comfortable being there. The staff is upbeat and positive. You have people who really care about you, and that gives you hope. That's what patients need," he says.

"You can go anywhere in the world to get treatment for prostate cancer, but MD Anderson is outstanding. It's the top place to be treated."

Hope for prostate cancer patients

He's excited at the possibilities MD Anderson's Moon Shots Program holds for current and future prostate cancer patients.

"It's absolutely phenomenal that MD Anderson is focusing so much effort on prostate cancer," he says. "It's growing at an alarming rate, but thanks to the Moon Shots Program, one day we can get a handle on it. The patients behind me and patients in the future -- we'll all benefit."

Watch Donald discuss his prostate cancer journey:

Prostate cancer is one of the areas MD Anderson is focusing on as part of our Moon Shots Program to dramatically reduce cancer deaths. Learn more about our Prostate Cancer Moon Shot.

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