My five-year anniversary as a member of HW is on Sunday, October 13th. I will be at sea that day on our cruise, and wouldn't have a chance to post this, so I will post it now while I can.
It's hard for me to believe that it's been five whole years. I came to HW as a posting member on October 13, 2008. I was dx. with PC on August 25, 2008. On a simple Google search, I found HW on the very first pass. I lurked for about a month, liked what I saw, and decided to join. In my case, I had already made my primary treatment decision, which was to be open surgery. I wanted seeds, even back then, but was told I didn't meet the criteria at the time.
When I came here, hadn't been to any other PC forum or site, other than posting my story at Terry's site, I have been faithful to HW. While its probably been 90% PC related, I have expanded in the last year to the CP (Chronic Pain) group as well. At times, I have been to the Ostomy group as well, but being one of the few there with an Urostomy, I wasn't able to benefit much from it. Most there have colostomies. Recently have been at the Lupus group as well.
What a wild and crazy five years this has been. After my dx, and my decision to have surgery, I honestly thought in my bliss and ignorance, that would be that. I would have the surgery (and I was no stranger to surgery), heal up, and that would be that - and I would move on with my life. Little did I know the twists and turns that awaited me, and I would have never dreamed that as the result of my journey - that I would end up totally disabled, unable to work, dealing with such intense chronic fatigue, and of course, the endless and relentless chronic pain.
And for all I have been through and still enduring, knowing that my PC is unchecked, and busily growing away in an advanced state. One never knows what they are getting into with a PC dx.
I am thankful that so many men here, are dx, treated, heal, and then are able to move on with their lives. That's the way it should be. I am never jealous or angry, I am truly happy for all those that beat this thing.
In five years, I have gotten to known hundreds of you through our words here, I have met about 10 of you in person. It's been a good ride. With over 22k posts to dates, it would seem like I give a lot here, but in reality, I have received much more over the years than I could ever give. I simply write more than others, nothing more. And I communicate best via writing. Try reaching me by phone and you would know how difficult that can be.
I am not an expert at anything PC, just have a lot of first hand experience. I have learned a lot here. I have shared a lot here. I am happy for every zero report I read of. I grieve heavily when one of our brothers fall here in death at the end of their heroic and sometimes epic battles. All the spectrums of human emotion can be felt here, if you look close enough, and take the time to read between the lines.
Like most before me, and since, I too came here scared, Scared for my life. But I no longer have any fears, and as most know, I simply do not allow myself to worry, to worry about anything. Not productive, not my style.
Whatever fears I formerly had, were overcome by knowledge, and a lot of that basic knowledge came from the words of other HW PC (and CP) posters. I have taken many an idea and suggestion from here, directly to my oncologist for advice, or at least to run things past him.
I thank each and every person that I have met here in those 5 years. Appreciate any support, comfort and advice you shared with me. And as long as I am breathing, I intend to stay at HW and do my job -which is welcoming each and every newcomer, and try to offer up heart felt support to those in need. I too understand fear, concerns, struggles, and especially pain. And yeah, don't think anyone here could ever beat me for catheter time and advice, lol. Rather not have had that experience.
I still think of some of my oldest friends here at HW, and they are still here. Like Tony, and Tud, and Billy Mac, and Sephie, and too many others to remember from way back in 2008.
I am happy that we are back in more peaceful times here, and I hope and pray it can mostly stay that way. We are at our best, when we can agree to disagree. None of us are all right, or all wrong, and I try to think of us as peers, with each having their own unique perspective to the beast we fight. The enemy is the cancer, not each other.
Not sure if I will be around at the next five year mark, but I am going to keep going and act as if I will.
My best to each and every one here, it takes all of us, and our mods, and the generosity of Peter, to make this place happen.
David in SC