True love involves commitment, forgiveness, understanding and grace.
Humility In Marriage
Think of your spouse more highly than yourself. Putting your spouse’s needs above your own builds equity in any marriage.
A Celebration Of Life
As I recently celebrated another birthday, I’ve contemplated a lot on what the day actually meant to me. This is because I was celebrating more than just the day of my birth. I was also celebrating the one year anniversary of my prostatectomy procedure and the fact that my dear wife made me go get a physical, which led to my #prostatecancer diagnosis. I celebrated not only my birth but also my wife’s commitment to #insicknessandhealth. Her commitment to “woness.”
This month is also #prostatecancerawarenessmonth, which reminds me that I am now part of a brotherhood of men who fight and have fought this highly treatable yet terrible disease.
Yes, this birthday was like no other. It was definitely a celebration of life in more ways than one. Probably my most important birthday!
Staying Close During Social Distancing
People who know us well, know that I’m an extrovert and my wife is an introvert. I require longer periods of socializing whereas my dear wife, contrary to popular belief, does like social interaction, but has to have it in spurts and needs time to decompress after long periods of socializing.
So how do we, as polar opposites on the socializing scale, make our marriage work during this time of quarantine? This also applies to couples who don’t normally spend a great part of their day together. I offer a few suggestions:
- Respect Each Other’s Differences
Respecting one another’s differences is important at any time but when you’re in lockdown mode it’s extremely important. I have to be aware of not “suffocating” my spouse and she in turn connects with me after she’s had her alone times.
- Be Willing To Communicate
In times of a quarantine when social interaction is limited, it’s important not to isolate yourselves further. It’s vitally important for us to communicate with one another if we need hugs, space, kisses or conversation.
- Be Attentive To Your Spouse
No matter how much “alone time” a person enjoys, we all need some amount of socializing. When this is not possible, feelings of isolation, anxiety and fear can squeeze like a vice grip. So it’s up to each spouse to be attentive to each other’s needs.
- Be Patient With Each Other
Being around each other more can feel like your spouse is in front of you every turn you take. This can feel a little like deja vu. It’s important to be patient with one another and try to somehow have fun with these situations.
- Say I Love You
The most important way to survive a time of social distancing is to tell each other “I love you” often. These three words can never be said enough and are the foundation to Twobecomingwon!
What are other ways for a marriage to survive an increased time together?
ANOTHER ROLLER COASTER RIDE
I have been quite for a while as I recover. But I wanted to continue my story…
As we met with the oncologist, he thoroughly described my staging and reviewed the NCCN Guidelines. According to the Gleason score and high percentage volume involvement, of at least two specimens, my prostate cancer staging, according to the American Joint Committee on Cancer was the following:
pT2b or PT2c with most likely no node involvement (NO).
If this sounds confusing, it’s really not as long as you have a legend to follow. For reference, you can follow the attached diagram. But just as a quick explanation, the “p” along with the “T” refer to the pathologic staging of the primary tumor and how much of the organ is involved. This is designated with the prefix pT2-4 referring to the extent of the prostate gland involvement (minimal, one lobe, two lobes, whole organ and surrounding tissues).
The other letters refer to lymph nodes and distant metastasis, N and M, respectively. The N is staged from X-1, ranging from no lymph node sampling to node metastasis. The M is staged from 0-1C, indicating no metastasis to bone involvement.
As we heard about the staging, we felt some optimism. But then the doctor described percent success rates with and without androgen deprivation therapy. Wait, what? I had already decided on a course of treatment that I wanted. What was happening? Furthermore, I was now told that I would first have the radioactive pellets placed in the prostate and then four weeks later I’d have the external beam treatment.
We were also told about the precautions I would need to take with having the pellets in terms of holding babies. Mind you, I have a baby grandson (nine months old during this occurrence). When he told us that the pellets never stop giving off radiation, I was paralyzed. Although I had read that the pellets would not be a danger in terms of holding a baby, the radiation oncologist said that holding the baby on my lap for a long period would not be advisable for three to six months. To say I was shocked would be an understatement!
Then came the other bomb. We were told that because of the enlarged size of my prostate, it would be highly recommended that I have ADT first to decrease the size to allow for safer placement of the pellets. Now I became numb. How did I go from having a choice on the ADT to now it almost being required? Not only that, the percent survival at later years were also improved when adding this therapy. As with any treatment, there were several possible listed side effects from radiation and ADT.
My world was absolutely rocked! I felt like someone had pulled the carpet from underneath me! What I thought was an appointment to go over the treatment protocol and start scheduling sessions, became a bombardment of information that was overwhelming and surprising! However, given the intermediate, unfavorable category of my prostate cancer, made sense. It was just unexpected.
Well, the other option, which I had totally ruled out before this visit was surgery. However, we were told that obviously, we would have to make that decision. And obviously, there were also some side effects discussed with the surgery. We were told that although no medical professional could force me in any certain direction, given my age, surgery could be a viable option. I left this appointment with totally dejected. Needless to say, it was a very long night!
To be continued…
THE RECONNAISSANCE MISSION
After having heard about my treatment options, I was determined to speak to someone who had been through radiation. However, my quest was more specific than just anyone. I was on a mission to hear from someone around my own age who had been through radiation treatment.
So through a friend, I was able to speak to a gentleman who had a history a higher Gleason score and went through both brachytherapy and external beam treatment. And he was doing well with minor side effects. So after this conversation I was encouraged and ready to go forward. So I thought.
After this conversation, my wife and I met a couple who were nutritional vendors promoting a vegan lifestyle. The gentleman had a significant history of prostate cancer, however, his had metastasized. He underwent both surgery, testosterone suppression therapy and radiation. He shared research information about how a diet free of animal products and low in saturated fats, was known to protect against prostate cancer and actually reverse the process.
The name that stuck out the most during our conversation was Dr. Dean Ornish. He authored a study in the Journal of Urology, which detailed the effects of an “intensive lifestyle change” on men with early, low grade prostate cancer. The study showed that the PSA revealed a 4% decrease on the experimental group versus a 6% increase in the control group. Furthermore, there was an decrease in the growth of cancer cells of up to 8 times as much in the control group.
This sounded groundbreaking! But was it truly real science? This may not be mainstream, I thought, but certainly worth some attention. Furthermore, Dr. Ornish may not be a cardiologist or nutritionist, but even the American Cancer Society recommends a reduction of saturated fats and reducing red meats.
Although this gentleman had some side effects, his claim was that they were improved with a vegan diet. Although I was not totally ready to bet the farm on these claims, it was clear that there were at least anecdotal evidence. So we did research on a vegan diet and decided to adopt this practice. I had nothing to lose. And my wife, in a demonstration of love and support, decided to adopt this lifestyle with me. (Mostly because she’d be doing the cooking anyway. LOL)
Our hope and prayer was that God would use this change in diet in conjunction with the upcoming radiation treatments to give me good outcomes. But wasn’t totally sure if this was my treatment option for sure. I still had a consult with the Cancer Center.
Why I Love My Wife
She’s beautiful. The kind of beauty that radiates from the inside.
She loves life and loves speaking life to others!
She’s analytical. She’s often deep in thought about a lot of things.
She’s an introvert but she loves that even though I’m an extrovert, I respect her need to withdraw at times.
She loves family and would do anything for her family.
She’s a motivator and deeply enjoys helping others reach their personal and fitness goals one on one.
She has the loudest, cutest laugh in any room! But it’s a joy to see her enjoying herself.
She always has a sacrificial kind of love.
She always believes in me and makes me feel strong.
In short, I love her because she means everything to me!
Marriage Tip Thursday
Although the wife may be the weaker vessel in a marriage, it does not mean she is inferior. Husbands are to treat their wives with love, respect and honor.
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.
But First, Say I Love You
Occasionally in the hustle and bustle of everyday life couples can forget the seemingly small, insignificant stuff. However, there are three words that should, without a doubt be said multiple times a day to each other.
Saying “I love you” daily is good for yourself, your spouse and for your “woness.” So whatever you do, start and finish the day with these three important words.