The Story of Tracy Morgan
"Our mission is to get men checked for prostate cancer."
I was diagnosed in May 2019 with metastatic stage four prostate cancer. Mine was metastasized to my bones from my neck, ribs, lower back, pelvic area, both hips and right femur. At the time I was having severe lower back pain for about six weeks. I had gone through physical therapy which did not help and finally was sent for an MRI on a Friday morning. That afternoon I was called by the radiologist and told I had an abnormality on my MRI and needed to come to the ER as soon as possible. Once there we were given the bad news that I had prostate cancer that had spread to my bones. After that my mind was going 600mph and I convinced myself I had five to six months to live, after all the three words I heard were cancer, spread and bones. That weekend sucked!
The following week was fast and furious, I was sent to a large urology center which also has a prostate cancer center on Tuesday. Met my urologist who confirmed my diagnosis and my radiation oncologist. Thursday had my biopsy and Friday I started radiation on my back. I found out my PSA was 294, it should be less than 4. I received ten days of radiation on my back which completely took away my pain. I also started my medical regimen of ADT (hormonal therapy). I receive a shot in my belly every four weeks of Firmagon and take two Zytiga pills every day. These two drugs take my testosterone away which is what prostate cancer feeds on. I’m on my way. The rest of 2019 was just much of the same, dealing with the side effects were the hardest. Fatigue, hot flashes, mood changes were the biggest. In October I had twenty days of radiation on my prostate. This was worse than the back radiation with several side effects, fatigue was bad for all of November. During this time I decided I needed a goal that would be hard to achieve, figuring if I could reach this goal that I will be able to get through whatever I will face in the future with this disease. That goal was to run the 5K at the Chicago ZERO run/walk on May 30th of 2020. I’ve never been a runner and never liked running. I started training in December and it took me six months to be able to do this. I did run a 5K on May 30th despite all of the ZERO run/walks going virtual this year.
So far this doesn’t sound too bad but the reality of the stage of cancer I’m in is that it is incurable, I will never get rid of it and I only have a 30% chance a living for five years. The ADT treatment has been successful and took my PSA all the way down to 0.01. The big question is how long. It didn’t take long to answer that question, six months after reaching 0.01 I was up to 0.96. That number is still well within the normal range, but the trend indicates my ADT treatment is not working like it should. This means new treatments are coming. As I look back I was the perfect storm for this diagnosis. I’ve never liked going to the doctor, always said nothing is wrong with me. I knew nothing about prostate cancer or PSA, never had a PSA test. Since my diagnosis I’ve become more and more open about my cancer and more and more determined that I will prevent as many men as possible from ending up with my diagnosis and my odds. From this passion arose the Mohawk Mission. Why Mohawk? As you can see from my picture I have a Mohawk which was given to me by my daughters on a fundraising challenge. This has become my trademark and thus the name for the mission. I’m not sure where it’s going to go but know I need to do it.