Most of the time I try to enjoy a sort of normal life (not all good--but that is normal) and avoid thinking about cancer. Exceptions being the few days before blood test time. So, for example, I only come by here occasionally.
But this year, my wife signed us up for a local Relay for Life event. She usually does like me, avoids thinking/talking about having survived cancer. But she signed us up in part to support another relative, recently diagnosed. So, we put in a reasonably good donation, and off we went to the event.
I didn't really know what to expect. It turns out that, as a survivor, you are treated like a celebrity, or a league champion. You get a special survivor T-shirt, and you get a foam candle on a cardboard cake that says how many years (birthdays) you have had since diagnosis. I'm only 2, but some folks were over 30 (wow). And, you carry balloons, color-coded to indicate that number of years. 2 purple ones for me. Plus, a pretty hefty survivor medal to wear.
We heard a local celebrity talk about his own personal experience with melanoma, his own and his father's. Very moving.
Then came the first event, which was the survivor walk. Volunteers line up around the track. Survivors walk around the track, and slap hands with all the volunteers who tell us "congratulations!". After one lap, we gather together and release balloons and doves together. Then, volunteers continue to walk for 24 hours, recognizing that cancer never sleeps.
It's sort of hokey, and yet I was moved nearly to tears. (And I'm not even on HT!) I guess I'm in denial most of the time. But, an event like this makes you look at life and death in the face. And appreciate the folks who volunteer, and all you fine people here.
Diagnosis at 53. PSA 2007 about 2; 2008 4.3
Biopsy Sept 2008: 6 of 12 cores pos; Gleason 4+3 = 7
CT & Bone scan neg
Da Vinci at City of Hope Dec 8, 2008
Rad prostatectomy & lymph node dissection
Cath out on 7th day, in on 8th day, out again 14th day after neg cystogram
Path: pT2c; lymph nodes neg; margins involv; 41 grams,
PSA 1/08, 4/09,7/09, 10/09, 11/09,2/10 <0.01, 10/10 0.1, 2/11 0.08