James L. Anderson
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Thank you for visiting the website and also my webpage. The Us Too International organization as well as the annual prostate cancer walks are very personal for me. I am a prostate cancer survivor. I was diagnosed in January 9, 2019 just days before my 64th birthday. I was looking forward to finally being able to listen and actively sing When I'm 64 by the Beatles. It was finally going to sink in that I had made it and that the words would took on an extra resonance. The diagnosis actually made me sing the blues.
Despite having yearly prostate exams after my 40th birthday, I thought that I would not get prostate cancer. My exams, in my early 60's, had indicated an enlarged prostate and certainly not cancer itself. It was only when I was going to get an implant to reduce the increase flow of urine from the prostate, that the cancer was detected. I just went blank thought it was the end. Even though my urologist was telling me about treatments, all I could think about was death. It was time to plan the funeral.
My partner died of prostate cancer in 1994. I went thru the entire ordeal with him and it instantly bought back all those memories. His cancer initially had been in remission, but it came back. After many treatments ( many just starting at that time), hospitalizations, and prayers he succumbed to it on January 24, 1994. It ripped my heart and soul out. I never forgot that time. After seeing what he went thru I vowed to make sure I would get yearly exams to stay on top of this. I thought I was ok. Now it was happening to me.
Once I calmed down from the shock, I asked to get a second opinion just to be sure. I was referred to the staff at the Mark M. Connolly Center for Cancer & Specialty Care in Chicago. They are affiliated with St. Joseph Hospital which is adjacent to the center. I talked with an oncologist there and it was confirmed that I had prostate cancer. The next step was trying to figure out how I was going to treat it. I was given a LOT of information to review and mull over. I took my time and read and absorbed as much as I could. I asked questions and after some thought came to a decision. I was going to get radiation treatments.
Lucky for me my cancer was caught early and my prostate scores ( called Gleason) were in the immediate range. I had the options of either sitting back and see if my scores progressed higher ( and more cancer), having surgery to take out the prostate, or having radiation treatments to hopefully reduce the cancer cells. After many agonizing days and some sleepless nights, I decided to get radiation treatments. My decision was a gamble and I prayed that I made the right one that was just for me. I was under no pressure to nothing that I did not feel comfortable with. I just placed my faith in god and my radiation oncologists that I would be looked after. I started my radiation the first of my 28 radiation treatments on July 22, 2019. They ended on August 28,2019. I was scared and I had hoped I had made the right decision.
I got an early indication that something good had happened in April 2020. My Radiation Oncologist told me that my initial Prostate Specific Antigen number( PSA) had been reduced by half the number it had been when I first started the radiation treatments. The news got even better on June 16 when I was told that my PSA level and significantly reduced to an even l number and that technically I was CANCER FREE!!! I could not believe it and thought maybe I was mistaken with someone else. No it was ME and the radiation treatments had worked. I will still follow up with my oncologists every 6 months going forward for active testing, but as of right now my numbers are good. Someone upstairs had been looking down and wanted to shine a light on me. I am still basking in that light.
This was long way to say thanks for visiting my page and to help raise awareness and some funds for the Prostate Cancer Walk and Run. I participated last year and I was glad to have been a part of that day. The pictures you see are from that day. It's now a year later and the pandemic is raging and the event is now virtual. It's a sad state of affairs but necessary given how large gatherings "could/can" spread the virus. It's a safety measure and I am all for it. If you can, make a donation $.05, $.35, $1.49, $ 2.67. or higher to the organization. I know this pandemic has put a strain on finances and some like me are unemployed due to Covid, so anything you could spare would be grateful. Even an affirmation or a thumbs up would be welcome too :)
Prostate Cancer is something all men "could" face in their lifetimes. It strikes men of color at even higher rates than the rest. It's important to stay diligent and to keep close tabs on your health. Don't be afraid of getting prostate exams. That one exam could be the difference in life, suffering, or even death. It can be treated if caught early, and there are options out there that can help you manage your life. Fundraisers such as this will help education, research, and cures. It's not over yet. I AM one of the lucky ones.
Thank you for stopping by. I hope all of you are ok and safe. I hope this time next year, we will be able to actually get out and walk or run collectively.
BIG BIG Kudos to the WONDERFUL and Brilliant staff at the Mark M. Connolly Center especially Dr. Blumenfeld, Dr. Kozma, my folks in the radiation lab( shout out to the "dj"), the staffs at the front desks, Dr. Rooney at Laboure, and SUPER BIG shout out to my guardian angel Lindsay Colman.
James ( Jas) Anderson