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dalelmcgough

dalelmcgough

Total Messages 1

Subject:My Story

Cancer, as related to my life

 

I am a survivor. My name is Dale and this is my story of the heart-breaking theme of cancer, the silent killer. It affects you in a life altering or life ending way but also reaches past and crushes your loved ones. You do not think of life in terms of those little falling granules of time left in that hourglass that nothing but time can stop. You then realize that time is going by at an accelerated speed after you get your awful diagnosis. That is when I realized that if I lost the good fight I really had no place to even be interred. I reflected that there had been plenty of time. I cried when I thought about it. It was now time to cowboy up and get things done so that others would not have to suffer due to your loss. I fired up the computer and updated my will and developed my Advanced Care Directives. Being in the Emergency Medical Field for thirty years makes you plan for the worse and hope for the best.

 

But wait, I just got a check-up a year ago and, during that same visit, confided in my family physician that there was a problem. I said, specifically, that in the morning when I emptied my bladder it came out like a lawn sprinkler instead of a good, steady stream as it should. Did my doctor take the easy way out? And instead of checking my PSAs he suggested that I go onto a regimen of zinc. I had never heard of the Prostate Specific Antigen count and what it could be used to diagnose. Nope, I trusted my doctor and followed those orders. Often times it seemed to work but oh too often I was disappointed. Should he have considered total patient care? Was he just overwhelmed by the workload? I have paid for that lack in judgment with a more invasive surgery than I would have had to endure had this physician, sworn to uphold the Hippocratic oath, requested this simple test at that time.

 

Oops, I got off the beaten track and onto a healing process referred to as anger. This time, a year later, when I scheduled for an annual exam I wanted to get a second opinion and opted for another doctor who made up the association of physicians in this local office. I thought that she would come back to me stating that I had a simple prostate problem. She referred me to a urologist and that still didnt throw up the big red cancer flag. You see, Ive hardly ever been sick because I take great care of this life form where my spirit resides. What? This urologist wants a biopsy? This is where things began to get a little scary but the C word still never entered my mind. Now the urologist wanted to see me but not without my wife. Something was very terrible here!

 

This very patient man was realizing that this guy in front of him who had taken care of thousands of patients and had been through those hospital doors thousands of times never had to remain behind as a hospital guest. And now the good doctor had to tell him and his wife the awful news. He did realize that this surgery could have been done the old fashioned way. Or he could refer this quiet, still in shock, patient to the best Robotic Surgeon in the world. He put his ego aside and requested that my wife I make an appointment to see this remarkable surgeon so that we could make an informed decision. The good doctor gave us a simple explanation as to procedure and recovery time.

               

Can you believe that in this time and age of our existence that they can send little robot arms inside you to mine out the cancerous tissue? This is what your money is spent on every time you donate to cancer research. Boy, am I glad I put my money where my mouth was when it came time to write that donation check! Instead of an extended stay with possibilities of infection due to the large incision that was part and parcel of the old version of prostate removal my wife and I had an overnight stay and left in the morning with five tiny holes in my abdomen. I had a pump on one side to aid in fluid removal and a pain pump on the other side. I was able to remove the extra hardware on my own once I got home and the medication completed its course. I spent the next couple of weeks walking through the neighborhood, strengthening those abdominal muscles.

 

A point that should be added is that I spent those six weeks prior to surgery working out and getting strong at the gym. Without my trainer recovery time would have taken six weeks instead of four. I was willing and able to go back to work after only three weeks but because boys will be boys my surgeon would not sign a release until my fourth week into recovery. He knew that accidents could happen at work to undo all of the magic he performed. I am back in the gym working on getting back into pre surgery shape. Six weeks can work wonders against you. I am a really vane guy and probably a terrible patient! At 58 years old, two days before surgery, I completed a half marathon in the Relay For Life, one of the non-profit organizations that gets my volunteering hours.

 

I have just completed a blood draw for my first PSA check after surgery and came back with glowing results. Due to the added year of cancer this growth found its way through the prostate wall. This was not known until those little robots got in and looked around. It was like search and recovery! Extra tissue had to be removed with a lymph node or two to be sure that all cancerous material was extracted. Prior to this and until surgery I had pictured this cancer to be like a cluster of maggots eating away at me with a colony growing day by day. How morbid can one guy get?

 

I havent trained in over two years but I think Im ready to do another Walt Disney World Marathon. Leukemia is another leader in world population reduction. This is the fundraiser I choose to work for during that event. I could have a turn for the worse at any given time but for now it is my intention to keep the family a little closer and complete some of those dreams that are tangible. Life is shorter than you might realize.

 

 

 

My personal physician suggested a regimen of zinc supplement.
Have you attempted a second opinion due to a lack of judgement?
Total responses

Posted: 16 Jul 2008 07:44 AM
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telzy

telzy

Total Messages 5

Subject:My Story

Dale,

Thank you for your openness!  I am sure that your story will be helpful to other patients and/or family members experiencing a similar circustance, or to simply find encouragement.  One word for you, "Amazing!"  Congratulations on your recovery, and good luck in future marathons.  We hope to hear from you in the future!

Tamara Elzy, - MDACC Social Work Counselor


Posted: 21 Jul 2008 01:09 PM
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