“We’re making every moment matter!”

Get inspired by four patients who won’t let cancer get the best of them.

By
Health Monitor Staff
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“Take the time you need”
Dave Goodman, 59
Greendale, IN

Never give up.
“I made the decision earlier this year that if the therapy I was using didn’t work, I would go see a new doctor—one recommended by four guys in my cancer support group. I even put the money away in case I wanted to see him (he lives several states away). So when a bone scan showed new metastases throughout my body, I called his office for an appointment. At this point, my PSA is down to 43, from 149 just a couple of months ago—so I’m headed in the right direction.”

Protect your bones.
“I took great care in trying to avoid a fracture, but on a fishing trip with my son, just leaning over the side of the boat to pick some trash out of the water, I snapped my rib bone. Now I use a medication to strengthen my bones along with supplements from my doctor that include vitamin D and vitamin K. And I get bone density tests to check on my bone health.”

Get help for depression.
“After a bone scan where my whole body lit up like a Christmas tree, I was totally devastated. I couldn’t sleep—and that made me even more depressed. I told my doctor, who prescribed an antidepressant. I’d always been against pills, but after talking with my doctor, I started taking them. Along with therapy and my support group, they brought me out of depression.”

Get the right kind of massage.
“After I fractured a rib, my hospital’s cancer care program scheduled me for a therapeutic massage with a therapist who knew how to massage me properly. I explained the rib pain to him and he very gently massaged around the area. I also told him that my calves get really tight—I sit in a recliner most of my day and night—and he got the blood flowing!”

“Consider yourself a prostate cancer warrior!”
Charlie Hill, 70
Hampton, VA

Enlist a woman.
“Involve a woman in your care from day one—it could be your wife, girlfriend, your mother, sister or a friend. Bring her to your medical appointments. She will listen more carefully, take notes, follow up and make sure you’ll do what you’re supposed to do—whether you’re grumbling or not.”

Get in touch with your body.
“Most men are socialized to be tough and ignore things. Fighting prostate cancer requires a mindset change. Know your body. And know that if something’s not right, it’s okay to ask a doctor about any anxieties you may have—including problems with erectile dysfunction or incontinence.” 

Live clean.
“Every day is an opportunity to stimulate your immune system—even with metastatic prostate cancer. As long as you are able, exercise on a regular basis—work up a sweat! (I do 5 miles a day on my treadmill!) Eat a heart-healthy diet. Why? Your immune system is compromised, which means you could have other health conditions. I know I need to do these things to manage my cancer, but also my coronary artery disease.”

Take the reins.
“A man needs to be in charge of his own health, even with metastatic cancer. So don’t get sidetracked by the side effects of treatment. Do your research. Voice your concerns to your doctor. Talk to other men with prostate cancer who have tried different treatments.”

“Work on your physical and mental health”
Steve Cooper, 42
Las Vegas, NV

Get some exercise!
“I had the best time of my life during radiation—I rode my bike
5 miles to and from treatments every weekday for 8 weeks. I also did a full Ironman during week 7 of radiation—that’s a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile ride and a 26.2-mile marathon. Aside from my endurance training, I do yoga, Pilates and core work. What exercise does for my mental outlook is amazing!”

Keep a positive attitude.
“I remember lying on my couch the first week of radiation. I texted my oncologist: I can’t do this. He wrote back: The side effects of your treatment won’t come for three more weeks. What I learned? If you start expecting you’re going to have problems, you will! I plan on having the time of my life during chemo.”

Surround yourself with positive people.
“I found that the gloom-and-doom people have left my life since I’m such a positive person. Your friendships may change. I even had to ‘fire’ family members. I don’t want to be around people who complain or who are negative.”

Flip your priorities.
“I retired from the Army in 2007, after which I tried business, I was a college professor and, these days, I publish magazines for higher education. But I’ve switched my priorities. Now, I work half-days. And I focus on family, exercise and my dog, Lexi, who’s part lab, part pit and part diva.”

“Live in the moment”
Ric Fox, 58
Austin, TX

Have “write-off” days.
“I’ve grown to accept the path I’m on but I don’t dwell on it. We’ve all been told you’ve got to live in the present. Gosh, that’s probably the hardest thing. But I do try and I enjoy every good moment that I have. If I have pain or moments that I’m not feeling well or I’m just down and depressed, I’ll call that a ‘write-off’ day.”

Enjoy nature’s wonder.
“Last summer, my wife, Crystal, and I visited as many parks as we could. We did some hiking, fishing, picnicking and taking pictures. We tried to go at least once a week through the summer. Since I can’t ride too far in the car without getting uncomfortable, we stop along the way to hike, walk the dog, take a walk and look around. And we keep it to day trips—that way, I get to sleep in my own bed.”

Focus on the beautiful.
“I quit reading the newspaper and watching the news. I don’t care about politics any more. I know there are awful things happening in the world. I choose to focus on the beautiful things instead.”

Appreciate the small things.
“My wife and I have a friend who’s a home chef who occasionally cooks a fantastic meal for us. Just having a wonderful, healthy meal prepared with love by a friend is a beautiful thing. And when we go on a walk and see our neighbors outside, just a few moments talking with them is wonderful.”

Published
November 2014