Now there is never a good time to get bad news but I got mine during one of the most stressful times of year in my life as a teacher - the opening of the school year. I had some tests run earlier because the numbers were a bit troubling with my annual health check ups. I had a biopsy and I received the diagnosis the day before school started. So I was a bit prepared to hear the worst. I had Stage 3 prostate cancer.
My story is the same as so many others. Shock. Dismay. Worry. My world changed. I had the C-word. Long story short - I did my research, decided on a treatment plan, and here I am five years later. And thanks to excellent medical advances and care, the cancer is gone. But not everyone is so lucky.
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|"Buck" Caruso sports a cosmopolitan 'stache and beard.|
Interestingly though, I never asked “Why me?” when I was diagnosed. Instead I asked “What do I do next?” and “What do I have to learn from this?” And apparently there was a lot. I read book after book after book. I interviewed survivors about treatments, hospitals, doctors, effects, and issues to expect. Everyone was helpful. The conversations were blunt and honest. I was not a victim and I was not about to have pity on myself. That's not very productive. But I still had, you know, cancer.
But like so many things in life, cancer is a blessing and a curse. Cancer is a blessing because it forces us to evaluate our lives. We ask, “What is really important? Who is important?” We tend to get rid of a lot of junk in our lives. That’s good.
|Jeff Richmond displays a dramatic 'stache and beard.|
But another larger blessing is that there is no better time to be alive than right now. Modern medical science is amazing. So many of us are alive because of medical advances of one sort or other. I am grateful to everyone who has walked, run, bicycled, or whatever to raise funds to support research. I am grateful for the research and experiments.
|Neil Jackson's 'stache has an artistic flair.|
I went to a teaching medical school for my treatment. It’s part of my DNA, I guess, to teach. But now I was the lesson. And that was important because if doctors or a fellow sufferer could learn something about this disease that could help others then my life has served a greater purpose. I am five years out and cancer free. So for this No Shave November, men, save the ‘stache. Talk to your doctor. Get the test.
|Steve Yelton sports the business 'stache.|