THE TREATMENT PLAN

Now that we are well versed on the Gleason system, I’ll continue my story.

So with all the pieces of the puzzle together, now came time to break out the National Comprehensive Cancer Guidelines (NCCN) to develop a treatment plan. The NCCN is a comprehensive set of guidelines developed through extensive review of clinical trials and existing treatment protocol along with expert medical judgment and recommendations by physician panels made up from Member Institutions. These guidelines cover 97 percent of all cancers affecting patients in the United States and are updated on a continual basis.

According to the NCCN flowchart, interventions or treatment protocols are based on age and life expectancy. This means that the younger the patient, the more aggressive the intervention. Conversely, the older the patient, the more conservative the approach. For example, a 75 year old male diagnosed with a Gleason 7 prostate cancer would more than likely undergo radiation rather than surgery.

Well, from what I remembered, my Gleason score was 6. According to the NCCN Guidelines, the recommendation was prostatectomy (removal of the prostate), brachytherapy (radioactive pellets placed into the prostate gland) or external beam radiation. And with the radiation, I would have to decide if I wanted to have androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), which are basically injections to decrease testosterone, which is known to promote prostate cancer growth.

So, again, my Gleason score was repeated as a 6. And now I had to decide on which type of radiation I wanted as treatment and if I wanted to go through with ADT. Well, nothing sounded extremely attractive about pellets being inserted into my prostate or ADT. So I decided against those and surgery and opted for external beam radiation, which I know from others who had it or were having it, that it was 40 treatments.

Of course, as with any discussion of a surgical procedure or medical treatment, came the discussion or “informed consent.” “Everyone is different and not everyone has these effects, but some of the side effects of radiation are urinary incontinence, blood in the urine, painful urination, diarrhea and erectile dysfunction. These are mostly temporary and medications can be given for erectile problems.” (Sorry, I have to keep it real). Just what I wanted to hear- feasible ways in which I could help keep the prescription drug industry viable! (insert sarcasm face). Well, this was starting to sound less attractive

I left that appointment determined to do more research in terms of pros and cons of radiation therapy. I knew I need to find people who had been through this type of treatment and glean from their experiences. To be continued…

As we continue to raise awareness for prostate cancer, please remember: Although there may not be a hard rule for screening, talk to your doctor about a PSA test if you’re between 45 and 55 years old. Screening should be done at 40-45 years of age for African Americans, Latinos or if there’s a strong family history.

Love Built To Last

Recently I had a situation which left me surprised, speechless and stunned. I may share particulars of this issue at a later date. My natural tendency was to stop, breathe and process what was going on.

To do this, I had to withdraw so that I could gather all my thoughts. However, in the midst of organizing my thoughts, I was slipping into reclusiveness. Unbeknownst to me, I was at the same time pushing away the one person who wanted to be with me, cheer for and support me.

But my bride of 23 years would not allow me to withdraw, be quiet or remain lost in my thoughts. Nope! She took me by the hands and told me, “we are in this together, I want to know your thoughts and feelings. You can’t shut me out!” At that moment I realized that she would not compromise or back down. I was reminded of her deep love for me. I was reminded that because we are “won” my thoughts, feelings, fears and tears are also hers.

Yes, I was reminded of the fact that our “woness” does not work in isolation. I was reminded one more time of what our love means:

Lasting

Not Ordinary

Vital

Empathetic

Thanks honey!!

Understanding Differences Between Men and Women

So this past Mother’s Day, I tried to do more stuff around the house so that that my wife, and mother of our kids, could just relax. While my wife enjoyed her cards, flowers and lunch, she also had arranged her empty Clinique products on the bathroom counter for full display. “I don’t ask much, just for some observation,” she said as she swept her right hand as to uncover a prize.

At that moment, I felt like I was three days late for the prom! So I went into “fix it mode,” because that’s what men do, right? I told her that I would get new products but she told me not to bother, that she would do it.

This incident portrays a stark difference between men and women: women want men to notice things they need whereas men want to be told what women want or need.

A woman’s desire would be for her husband to be observant and proactive in both noticing and fulfilling some wants. This lets the woman know that she is being thought of. Unfortunately, most men aren’t wired this way. Most men would be happy to fill a need once they are asked.

Knowing and understanding these differences is of vital importance in a marriage. It prevents misunderstandings, unrealistic expectations and disappointments. It is also important to be able to discuss these differences with grace, patience and without setting ultimatums. This allows for healthy communication and may also help each person to be more sensitive to each other’s needs.

So how did this play out? Well, she never did go to get her Clinique products. So I assured her that I would take care of it and I did! Now she’s all set…and I’ll try to be more intentional on being observant.

Marriage Tip Thursday

Being the first to apologize after an argument shows more strength as opposed to expecting your spouse to do it first.

Thursday Marriage Tip

Actively looking for ways in which to serve your spouse will strengthen your relationship because it will make your eyes habitually more sensitive for opportunities to serve.

Positivity Bears Positivity

Positivity Bears Positivity

I’m sure we can all point out at least five things about our spouses that are annoying. For instance, I sometimes cringe when I hear the sounds of cabinets being slammed in the kitchen. And my my dear wife really dislikes (to be gentle) the way I clean the kitchen and leave at least two items in the sink.

  • But instead of focusing on that laundry list, we try to focus instead on the things we love about each other. Sometimes this list may seem shorter, especially if it’s not thought about often. However, the more we think about them, the more positive qualities we can come up with!
  • So let me encourage married couples to spend more time looking for the good. Your relationship, intimacy and love will all grow.

    Perfection Does Not Exist Here

    We’ve been told before that “it seems like you guys have the perfect marriage.”

    Nothing could be further from the truth!

    Here are four examples of why our marriage is not without flaws.

    Perfection

    Neither of us are perfect therefore, our marriage is not perfect. Both of us brought our own baggage when we became “won.” And we each had our own way of dealing with our baggage. We had to each become programmed to live as “won” instead of two. Although this takes time, perfection is never really attained, since we ourselves don’t become perfect.

    Grace

    Although we all like to be shown grace, when it comes to others we tend to push for justice. This can also be the case in our marriages. There have been times where grace has eluded us (I won’t say who) which has lead to “spirited” conversations. I wish I could say that we soon came to our senses, but that hasn’t always been the case. We have however, been able to recover from those situations rather unscathed.

    Patience

    Yes, patience is a virtue, but occasionally it’s in short supply. I will admit, I’m probably the biggest offender of this. Whether it’s waking up on the “wrong side” of the bed or a bad day at work, some things can make us more irritable. This is when one us has to remind the other, without sarcasm, to exercise patience.

    Pride

    Pride can rear its ugly head in many situations. Most of all, when we want the other person to be the first to say “I’m sorry.” I have been guilty of that in the past, as I’ve documented in a previous post: https://twobecomingwon.com/2015/12/27/my-longest-night/. Pride has no place in a relationship and overtime it only destroys. The commitment has to be made to think of the other person first before ourselves.

    So although our marriage is definitely far from perfect, my wife and I have made a commitment to fight for our “woness.” Perfection is not an attainable goal for two imperfect people, but commitment and determination are traits necessary for every marriage!