Living Life One Extension at a Time - Extension One Part 3
One advanced prostate cancer survivor's story of living through incurable prostate cancer with one life extending treatment at a time.
I'm going to backtrack just a bit, in December 2020 I had a feeling God was asking me, "Now that you have this cancer, what are you going to do with it?". Not what are you going to do about it, but with it. That is when I decided my purpose with whatever time I may have left was to work to prevent as many men as possible from ending up being initially diagnosed stage four. To get them checked so that early detection would save their life. Early detection results in a greater than 99% five year survival. Find it how I did and you end with a 30% five year survival. My life changed at this point, I had a purpose in my life bigger than me.
How do You Fulfill Such a Purpose?
I was already pretty comfortable telling my story. I would lay in bed at night and think about talking in front of large groups of people. At first it was men, they need to know. Covid quickly stopped all dreams of being able to do this. I kept thinking that surely this would be over soon and I could get back to trying to find groups to talk to. Around the first of September of 2020 I decided to form the Mohawk Mission, a social media based platform to spread awareness about prostate cancer since I couldn't see groups. I open a Facebook page, Instagram page and started a website. It was a meager at best attempt to get the word out but I had started a path that would grow.
I don't recall when this thought first hit me. How many men would I be able to find that want to listen to a guy talk about their prostate and cancer. Let's just say that I wouldn't have attended! I was the guy that didn't care for doctors, there's nothing wrong with me, I'm okay, I feel fine. Didn't know anything about prostate cancer before diagnosis. Never had a PSA test. I knew I wasn't the only man like that out there, and probably a majority men were the same. After all, we're men! No, this needed a different approach. Women are accustomed to seeing doctors from a young age and are generally the Health CEO's of their families. I needed to reach women, they could help get men to the doctors. So my thoughts changed and I started targeting women more.
You never know what direction you may be lead. Spring of this year (2022) I had an appointment at the neurological institute for a problem I was having with vertigo. We talked with the nurse practitioner that saw me at the end of the appointment about my cancer. She told me about a group of women that gather every summer for a day of fun and fundraising. I did some research and found the woman that created this event. I would learn that they raise over $20,000 a year for a prostate cancer nonprofit and have several hundred women attend who do a float trip down a local river. I was asked to talk at this event with over 500 woman attending. This would be the pinnacle of my speaking engagements, getting to joke about the hot flashes and the table with stirrups, but then challenging them to get their men checked for prostate cancer. This will be a day I will never forget.