Trouper? Survivor? Don't like those terms

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2009
Total Posts : 7269
   Posted 4/20/2010 6:56 PM (GMT -6)   
Well, I know at work I've been called a trouper, implying that I am some sort of brave sort. Survivor also sounds like one went into battle and survived.
But, frankly, I don't care for those terms. It makes it sound like we volunteered for some dangerous assignment and acted in some sort of heroic manner.
I will probably survive it but we don't even know that. So we do NOT know if I am a cancer SURVIVOR.
I am not brave. This was and is a tough thing to have and undergo. Ok, I didn't crack up and I am getting on with my life. Did I really have a choice?  Not REALLY!
I am just a normal human being FORCED to deal with something that many of us have to deal with. That's all.

63 years old . PSA-- 3/08--2.90; 8/09--4.01; 11/09--4.19 (Free PSA 24%),  after 45 days on cipro! DREs have always been normal. PCA-3 was about 75 (way above the 35 threshold). That led to:

Biopsy on 11/30/09. 5 out of 12 cores positive. Gleason 4+3. 2 cores were 3+3 (one 5% and the other 30%) on one side. On  other side:2 cores are 4+3 (5%)--1 core 3+4 (30%) no peri-neural invasion. prostate is 45 grams. Stage: T1C.  

Surgery with Dr. Menon at Ford Hospital, 1/26/10. He says all looked good. Spared nerves. Unfortunately: Pathology Report: G 4+3 (65%-35%). Cancer in 15% of gland. Lymph Nodes: Clear.  Perineural Invasion: yes. Seminal Vessical Involvement: No.  Extraprostatic Extension: yes.  Positive Margin: Yes-- focal-- 1 spot .5mm. Final Weight is 52.7 gms.  (Second opinion from Jon Epstein at Hopkins confirmed these results)

 Incontinence: joined that club-- definite leaks—1 pad/day. Night is dry, was  using 1 pad at night for security, but pretty much dispensed with that most nights. Update: no pads at night. No pads while at home, but still very uncomfortable. Use 1 pad for out-of-house activities. Suddenly got MUCH better on 3/10/10, almost overnight. Still some urgency but no pads about 90% of the time.  As of 3/12/10--completely continent! Uh...OH. As of about 3/16/10 problems with constant urgency although no pads needed--feels like an infection but none showing in urine.

First post-op PSA on 3/10/10--DRUM ROLL: 0.01 Next PSA in mid-June.

O Buddy Boy
Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 106
   Posted 4/20/2010 7:18 PM (GMT -6)   
I'd take that. I'm surviving so far. All we ever have is today.

I was called a liar. I was accused of making up the story to get free time off. Conversations with my surgeon were illegally listened in on.
55 yo
DRE: Susp
PSA: 3.5
Gleason: 3+4/7
6/12 Cores Positive; Sextants were 1%, 3%, 8%, 15%, 12%, 0%
RALP: 10/09/09
Margins: Clear
Lymph Nodes: Clear
Seminal Vesicles: Clear
Gleason: No increase from biopsy 3+4/7
Some perineural and capsule invasion.
Incontinence: Minor. 1 light pad a day. Some days don't need it.
ED: Natural with encouragement. 20mg Cialis and pump just makes things more fun.

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 7082
   Posted 4/21/2010 8:30 AM (GMT -6)   
I see two choices - I opt for number 1 - I would prefer to call myself a survivor, because I am not dead yet, and unlike other afflictions, we have no real idea if it is still out there waiting to come back. One must stay attentive 'forever', lest it come back. That is why I am starting IGRT today.

The other choice is to adopt the logic behind a phrase someone had on a t-shirt on tv the other night. "eat well, exercise, die anyway."

Elite Member

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 25393
   Posted 4/21/2010 9:25 AM (GMT -6)   
Mel, perhaps those terms make other people feel more comfortabe with the "cancer" word for themselves.

All of us here are "survivors" of Cancer, as long as we are on the top side of the turf when you wake up.

Once one's cancer goes into remission, you can only hope it stays that way the rest of your natural life, and dream again about getting hit by lightning or a city bus or the proverbial heart attack. Or go out on a limb, and perhaps you still have a chance of living till you are one hundred and get shot dead by a jealous husband.

All things are possible, brother.

David in SC
Age: 57, 56 dx, PSA: 7/07 5.8, 7/08 12.3, 9/08 14.5, 10/08 16.3
3rd Biopsy: 9/08 - 7/7 Positive, 40-90% Cancer, Gleason 4+3
Open RP: 11/08, Rht nerves saved, 4 days in hospt, on catheters for 63 days, 5th one out 1/09
Path Rpt: Gleason 3+4, pT2c, 42g, 20% cancer, 1 pos margin
Incontinence:  1 Month     ED:  Non issue at any point post surgery, no problem post SRT
Post Surgery  PSA: 2/09 .05,5/09 .1, 6/09 .11. 8/09 .16
Post SRT PSA: 1/10 .12, 4/8 .04
Latest: 7/9 met 2 rad. oncl, 7/9 cath #6 - blockage, 8/9 2nd corr surgery, 8/9 cath #7 out 38 days, 9/9 - met 3rd rad. oncl., mapped  9/9, 10/1 - 3rd corr. surgery - SP cath/hard dialation, 10/5 - 11/27 IMRT SRT 39 sess/72 gys ,cath #8 33 days, Cath #9 35 days, 12/7 - Cath #10 43 days, 1/19 - Corr Surgery #4,  Caths #11 and #12  same time, 2/8-Cath #11 out - 21 days, 3/2- Cath #12 out - 41 days, 3/2- Corr Surgery #5, 3/6 Cath #13 out - 4 days, Cath #14 out - 27 days, Cath #15 - 3/29

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 179
   Posted 4/21/2010 10:32 AM (GMT -6)   
I am whatever God decides. It's all in his hands.
63 yo
V10.46 Dx Feb-09

RRP 5-5-09

No adverse SE

PSA 6-19-09 -0-

PSA 9-21-09 -0-

Thriving, not just surviving!

English Alf
Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 2218
   Posted 4/21/2010 10:47 AM (GMT -6)   
Yes. Survivor is the wrong word.

I am what I am, and some of you will know that I have a very positive attitude to having PCa,
but as I seem to have been given a "life sentence" I think the word that sums up the position I'm in is:


Age at Dx 48 No Family history of Prostate Cancer
Married 25 years, and I cannot thank my wife enough for her support.
April 2009: PSA 8.6 DRE: negative. Tumour in 2 out of 12 cores. Gleason 3+3.
RALP (nerve-sparing) at AVL-NKI Hospital Amsterdam on 29th July 2009. Stay 1 night.
Partial erections on while catheter still in. Catheter out on 6th Aug 2009.
Dry at night after catheter came out
Post-op Gleason 3+4. Tumour mainly in left near neck of bladder.
Left Seminal Vesicle invaded, (=T3b!)
no perineraul invasion, no vascular invasion. clear margins,
Erection 100% on 15th Aug 2009, but lots of leaking
Stopped wearing pads on 21st Sept 2009
Pre-op style intercourse on 24th Oct 2009 !! No use of tablets, jabs, VED etc.
Nov 17th 2009 PSA = 0.1
Mar 17th 2010 PSA = 0.4!!! referred to radiation therapist

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 3172
   Posted 4/21/2010 10:49 AM (GMT -6)   


I agree with your discomfort with the term "survivor", and am also in search of a better term for myself.

You're not going to die from PC; I'm not going to die from PC.  In fact (using National Cancer Institute statistics), only 226 out of 100,000 men above 65 will die from PC.  In the PSA-era, there are still lots of guys in this country who don't go to doctors and don't get regular PSA tests.  Many of us who bang on our computers every day might find this hard to believe, but it is true that our present healthcare system excludes sizable elements of the population.  Those who have, for one reason or the other, fallen outside of what many of us consider "normal care" are the guys that make up most (not all, but most) of the statistics of men who actually die from PC.  Many of them eventually present to doctors for the first time (often in emergency room situations, due to lack of insurance) with advanced symptoms, much like it was for essentially everyone in the pre-PSA era.

Anyhow, I'd like to continue to monitor this thread to see if anyone else comes up for a good term...something better than "survivor."
best wishes...

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 2845
   Posted 4/21/2010 11:13 AM (GMT -6)   

you say tomato and I say tomahto....

how about - Prostate Cancer Challenger -

en garde !!!

Age: 54 - gay - with common-law spouse of 13 years, Steve - 60
PSA: 04/2007- 1.68 - 08/2009 - 3.46 - 10/2009 - 3.86
Confirmation of Prostate Cancer: October 16, 2009 - 6 of 12 cancerous samples , Gleason 7 (4+3)
Doctor: Dr. Mohamed Elharram -Urologist / Surgeon - Peterborough Regional Health Centre
Radical Prostatectomy Operation: November 18, 2009 , home - November 21, 2009
Post Surgery Biopsy: pT3a- gleason 7 - extraprostatic extension - perineural invasion - prostate weight - 34.1gm -
ED Prescription: Jan 8/2010 - started daily 5mg cialis - girth back to normal -but not much length - will go for trimix in April when I see doc
Incontinence: Feb 2010- 3-5 pads/1-2 clothes changes/day- March 3, 2010 - week 14 after surgery -finally seeing improvement - March 29- incontinence better - 1-2 pads a day - one pad at night
location: Peteborough, Ontario, Canada
Post Surgery-PSA: - April 8, 2010 - 0.05 - I am in the ZERO CLUB - hooorah!
Next PSA - October 8, 2010 - TBA -

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 4274
   Posted 4/21/2010 11:28 AM (GMT -6)   

You guys have too much time on your hands if you're discussing this I am replying so that must include me also...LOL.

Anyway, when the subject comes up I simply respond that I HAD prostate cancer but I'm fine now.  Then, if the opportunity presents itself, I proselytize about the need for regular PSA testing and am happy to discuss the disease...which many older men want to hear about because everyone knows someone who has this cancer.  So...I don't get labeled one way or another except maybe as a show off with all of the knowledge that I have gained from this forum...


Age 62, Gleason 3 + 4 = 7, T1C, PSA 4.2, 2 of 16 cores cancerous, 27cc
Brachytherapy December 9, 2008.  73 Iodine-125 seeds.  Procedure went great, catheter out before I went home, only minor discomfort.  Regular activities resumed, everything continues to function normally as of 4/10/10.  6 month PSA 1.4 and now 1 year PSA at 1.0.  My docs are "delighted"!

deer hunter
Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 250
   Posted 4/21/2010 8:07 PM (GMT -6)   
I call it getting on with the hand I was dealt so I'm getting on with life living it the best I know how trouper or whatever they want to call it I call it life, with the short end of the stick!!!!
dx age 57 01/06 open RP 4/06 psa in 01/06 8.1  surgery path report Gleason 3+4=7 poorly differentiated  tumor was 90%involved in both lobes surgical margins postive. in the right apex and right radial margins tumor grade G3  perineural invasion present high grade of PIN found  T2c NX MX PSA 0706  .01 10/06 .02 01/07 .03 04/07 .04  06/07 .05  07/07 .08 07/07 bone scans pelvic ct neg. 08/07 proscintic scan neg.9/07 psa.10 net with rad onc. wanted to do SRT but i did not do it 10/07  saw a new dr at Emory University [my old dr urg. suggested second opinion ]  bone scans negs ct scans pelvics neg. biopies of the bladder and adrinal glands neg.another proscintic scan neg.12/07 Psa .11 clinial trial Emory injected with protons to try and find the cancer cells no luck 3/08 psa .17 06/08 psa .23 psa 09/08 psa .32 12/08 psa .39 3/09 psa .39 6/09 psa .43  meet with medical onc. he said  i might have waited to long to start SRT 7/09 psa .50  another bone scan ct scan all neg.MRI neg. meet rad. psa the last of 7/09was .55 onc. 7/09 started casdex 50mg 1 day for 30 days 2 shots of lupron started rad treament 10/09 40 treatments 75 gm 12 shots each time all aroud pelvic finished 12/09  psa .07 and psa 01/10.05 next dr visit 03/10 wait and see 3/10 psa.05

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 2692
   Posted 4/21/2010 9:14 PM (GMT -6)   
I have tried throughout this ordeal to just be me. I didn't tell anyone but my family. I don't want any labels, partcularly ones like "poor goodlife".

I think how we face PC is important for our own well being, as well as for those around us. In much the same way I have to live all my other characteristics like being ugly, not too bright, and a terrible golfer, I have tried to categorize PC along with all those things. It is just the way it is.

How other folks characterize me can't really be helped. Now if I am always whining and complaining about my bad luck, and drips in my pants and lack of wood, I probably can give those around me more ammuntion to call me a lot of things.

So, I continue to life the Good life every day, live life to its fullest, and act as normal as I can. Yes I am a survivor, but you won't hear me saying that. I'm the guy next door or dad, or grandpa, like I was a year ago.
Age 58, PSA 4.47 Biopsy - 2/12 cores , Gleason 4 + 5 = 9
Da Vinci, Cleveland Clinic  4/14/09   Nerves spared, but carved up a little.
0/23 lymph nodes involved  pT3a NO MX
Catheter and 2 stints in ureters for 2 weeks .
Neg Margins, bladder neck negative
Living the Good Life, cancer free  6 week PSA  <.03
3 month PSA <.01 (different lab)
5 month PSA <.03 (undetectable)
6 Month PSA <.01
1 pad a day, no progress on ED.  Trimix injection
No pads, 1/1/10,  9 month PSA < .01
1 year psa (364 days) .01

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 697
   Posted 4/21/2010 10:03 PM (GMT -6)   
Dana Jennings blogged about this last month in the NYT.

"And what are we once treatment ends? Are we survivors? I don’t feel much like a survivor in the traditional (or even reality TV) sense. I didn’t crawl from a burning building or come home whole from a tour of duty in Afghanistan.

I’m just trying to lead a positive postcancer life, grateful that my surging Stage 3 cancer has been turned aside, pleased that I can realistically think about the future. I’m trying to complete the metamorphosis from brittle husk to being just me again."

While I don't agree with everything Jennings wrote in that piece, I do empathize with his larger point.

I feel odd donning the purple shirt (different colors in different cities, I imagine) and marching in the front of the Relay for Life (the big ACS fundraiser) parade around the field. If you've never seen the shirts, they have "SURVIVOR" in huge letters across the back. I don't begrudge the other purple shirted folks their moment, but I've decided it's not for me.

It is true, as Jennings writes, that words simply fail us when it comes to cancer, and we fall back on cliches. Speaking for myself--only--I am not engaged in a battle. I'm not, and have not been host to some alien invader called cancer. It was my own prostate that betrayed me--betrayed the rest of "us" that makes up what I call "me". I can't help but feel, when I put on the purple shirt and walk around the field, to the applause and tears, that somehow I am taking credit for something I shouldn't, and elevating myself. Am I better than the non-survivors? Of course not. So I won't be doing that any more.

I'm not the only one. Beth Brophy, who had breast cancer, writing in the Washington Post, 5/30/2000, in an article titled "That's Just Me; Don't Call Me a Survivor; I'm Not Going to Let a Disease Define Who I Am" said, in part:

"The most heart-wrenching sight at the race every year is the hundreds of children and teenagers whose lives have been affected by the disease. Wearing signs pinned to the backs of their shirts or carrying placards with photos, they memorialize their lost or ailing mothers, grandmothers, aunts and sisters. If any group wants to call themselves survivors, perhaps it should be those young people."

All that said, I certainly don't mind when others use the word "survivor" to describe themselves or others; nor can I argue that what someone else experienced wasn't akin to battle. This is me speaking for me here.

Dx Feb 2006, PSA 9 @age 43
RRP Apr 2006 - Gleason 3+4, T2c, NX MX, pos margins
PSA 5/06 <0.1, 8/06 0.2, 12/06 0.6, 1/07 0.7.
Salvage radiation (IMRT) total dose 70.2 Gy, Jan-Mar 2007@ age 44
PSA 6/07 0.1, 9/07 and thereafter <0.1

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 1015
   Posted 4/22/2010 12:07 AM (GMT -6)   
Of course, I like survivor, myself! tongue

When I was first diagnosed with cancer, I found a wonderful article at a cancer web site explaining, in a beautiful way, that all of us who are diagnosed with cancer and are still living are survivors. I received a lot of comfort in that.

I also found these definitions and synonyms on the web:

A definition of survivor: a person regarded as resilient or courageous enough to be able to overcome hardship, misfortune, etc.

Some synonyms: stayer, sticker, fighter, toughie

At any rate, call yourself what you wish, especially if it better helps you to enjoy the life you have.

Kind regards,

Surgery: Da Vinci; July 31, 2007; 54 on surgery day;
Pathology: PSA: 4.3; Gleason: 3+3=6; T2a; Confined to Prostate;
Post RP PSAs: 09/'07 <0.04; 12/'07 <0.04; 03/'08 <0.04;
06/'08 <0.04; 12/'08 <0.04; 06/'09 =0.06; 09/'09 <0.04; 12/'09 =0.05;
Latest PSA 3/'10 <0.04

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 789
   Posted 4/22/2010 7:48 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi everyone, I am confused about calling myself a survivor, I have gone through most aspects of the Pca journey and yet my PSA is still 0.6 , guess I am still here after nearly 3 years, but am reluctant to say I am a survivor until my PSA is zero.

My son in-law Roland, had testicular cancer 3 years ago, after the removal of one testicle, he is now clear of cancer, there is no sign of it now, he IS a survivor!

Me, I am just getting on with life, I am nearly 70, and think I will die with Pca, and not from it hopefully, people ask me if I am "all clear of cancer" I just say no, not yet, I have survived the operation, radiation, but who knows if I will survive Pca ?

Regards Mal.
age 67 PSA 5.8 DRE slightly firm Rt
Biopsy 2nd July 07 5 out of 12 positive
Gleason 3+4=7 right side tumour adenocarcinoma stage T2a
RP on 30th July,

Post op Pathology, tumour stage T3a 4+3=7, microcsopic evidence of capsular penetration, seminal vessels, bladder neck,are free of tumour, lymph nodes clear, no evidence of metastatic malignancy, tumour does not extend to the apical margins.

Post op PSA 0.5 26th Sept. Totally dry since catheter removed
PSA 23rd Oct.0.5 seeing Radiation Onocologist 31st Oct.
Started radiation treatment on 5th Dec, to continue until 24 Jan. 08.
Finished treatment, next PSA on 30th April.
PSA 30th April 0.4
PSA 30th July 0.5
PSA 27th Oct 0.4 (I am now 68)
PSA 11th March 09 0.5
PSA 3rd August 09 0.6
PSA 25th November 09 0.6 (I am now 69)
PSA 18th Jan 10 0.6

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 2243
   Posted 4/22/2010 8:50 PM (GMT -6)   
Goodlife's commets echo my sentiments, but to each their own. Am I a survivor of a war, yes, cancer, yes. But know me by my role as a father, husband , grandfather, brother, uncle, father in-law. As for me that is the bigger picture in my life. Everyone made some very interesting points on this thread and we dont have to agree on others beliefs for them to be as right as ours.
Dx with PCA 12/08 2 out of 12 cores positive 4.5 psa
59 yo when diagnosed, 61 yo 2010
Robotic surgery 5/09 Atlanta, Ga
Catheter out after 10 days
Gleason upgraded to 3+5, volume less than 10%
2 pads per day, 1 depends but getting better,
 started ED tx 7/17, slow go
Post op dx of neuropathy
T2C left lateral and left posterior margins involved
3 months psa.01, 6 month psa.4, 6 1/2 month psa.5
Starting IMRT on 1/18/10, Completed 39 tx at 72 gys on 3/12/10
Great family and friends

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 1804
   Posted 4/23/2010 2:29 PM (GMT -6)   
I don't believe that events in our life - whether it be a diagnosis of cancer or surviving an earthquake or willing the Powerball - should define who we are.

We are defined not by what happens to us but by how (and if) we turn our experiences into something positive. You guys (and us gals too) came here initially looking for advice and help. We have stayed because we realized we have something to offer others - whether it be sage advice, the benefit of our own experiences, or simply a hand extended in friendship. I'd call that making lemonade when all you have is a bunch of carpy lemons!
Husband diagnosed in 2/2008 at age 57 with stage T1c. Robotic surgery performed 3/2008. Stage upgraded to T3a (solitary focus of extraprostatic extension). Perineural tumor infiltration present. Apex margin, bladder neck and SVs negative. Final Gleason 3+4. PSA: 0.0 til July 2009. August 2009 - 0.1, September 0.3, October back to 0.0, December 0.0, March 2010 0.0. Next PSA in 6 months. Thank you God!

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