Not only does this story tell the Genesis of Web Radio Today, it is also my personal cancer story. This story is included in Web Radio Today, Episode 2, May 2, 2020 -Skip Orem
An audio version of this story, excerpted from Episode 2, is also availabe. JUST CLICK LINK THIS LINK and you can listen to it right here on the website
WHY THIS PODCAST NOW
The idea for the Web Radio Today podcast came to me, at a very scary and pivotal time in my life. The story of what was going in my life at the time this podcast was created may be of interest and help to other people who are in similar situations. As you read this you’ll find that the creation of Web Radio Today is a very minor part of the story.
2020 IS GONNA BE A GREAT YEAR
Christmas Eve 2019, Columbus Ohio. I’m in Columbus to celebrate Christmas with my daughter and her family and my wife’s family. What a wonderful evening, everybody together, many of these people I only see once a year, but I love them all.
We are all thinking what a great year 2020 is going to be. All of us looking forward to the new year, especially because my daughter is going to have another baby in May. A new grandchild, wonderful!
It’s funny how you really know nothing about the future. No way to predict what’s ahead. You can say today’s a pretty good day, tomorrow’s is looking ok, but beyond that, we know nothing of the future.
Little did I know on December 24, 2019 that there was a pretty good chance I would not be around on Christmas Eve 2020.
JUST A ROUTINE APPOINTMENT WITH MY UROLOGIST
During the last few months of 2019 I was having some “old man problems”, needing to get up too many times at night to use the restroom. So I was very happy that on January 16th of 2020, I was going to have an appointment with a urologist at Vanderbilt Health to get this problem fixed.
I hadn’t had a digital prostate exam or PSA test for several years. I don’t know why my doctor didn’t do those tests. I was happy at the end of every physical exam that I didn’t have to go through the digital exam process, yuk.
I can summarize my January 16th visit with my urologist in one sentence.
It didn’t go well!
The urlogist was very concerned about the size and feel of my prostate. And, “rut row”, I needed to be scheduled for a prostate biopsy immediately, like the very next week.
MY PROSTATE IS TRYING TO KILL ME
The biopsy, the next week, was a pretty simple procedure, not painful at all. I was actually kind of proud when I was told I had a “really big prostate”.
Got the news by phone two days later. Stage 3 prostate cancer, Gleason score of 8.
The Gleason Score means there’s also a chance it is spreading, or could have already spread to other organs. I was referred to a surgeon and radiologist and scheduled for scans to see what next steps will be.
By the way, large prostate…bad not good!
Options on the table; surgery, radiation, chemo, painful death. The scans will give us more information.
THERE ARE NO ATHEISTS IN FOX HOLES
I’ve been a Christian my entire life, raised in a very fundamentalist church, baptized at age 12 in a lake near Lakeville, Ohio.
During my time in the Air Force, I decided that I wanted to go back to school and study to be a Lutheran Pastor. For a number of reasons, that didn’t happen, and perhaps it’s a story for another time.
I guess you can describe the way I practiced my Christian faith as casual. Less casual at some times, more casual at others. At the time of the diagnosis I was a member of the Brentwood Baptist Church, and occasionally attended services. I prayed once in while… when I needed something.
So there you have it my spiritual diagnosis going into 2020. This sounds cliche and probably is, but all that changed drastically mid January
GOD WILL USE THE VERY THING THAT’S MEANT TO DESTROY YOU TO DELIVER YOU
That is so true! I started praying several times a day.
Don’t let this be cancer! Please help me , keep the cancer from spreading! Let the scans be clear! Make it possible for me to have the surgery! Assist me to have a good recovery!
As the days went on, my prayers became deeper, more analytical, a profound examination of how I was living my life. I talked with God about things I needed to change, no matter the end result of this cancer.
God was going to be more deeply involved with my life.
My talks with God helped me to realize I needed to shine my light and make a positive difference in the lives of my family, my friends, people I don’t even know.
Is my new found deep faith just a cliche because I happen to need God rtight now? Are the things I’m saying just platitudes to get me through this fight for my life.
NO! This isn’t a cliche. these are not platitudes, I’M ALL IN! If I fail, if I backslide, if I’m full of crap, if I’m just using God right now, it is all going to be out there for everyone to see, especially with this podcast.
“I THANK THIS CANCER FOR CHALLENGING ME TO LEARN, CHANGE AND GROW. I TELL THIS CANCER, THESE THINGS…THANKS FOR TEACHING ME TO STOP AND LISTEN, THANK YOU FOR REMINDING ME WHAT IS TRULY IMPORTANT, YOU CAN GO NOW.” – BELLERUTH NAPARSTEK
My more intense relationship with God, my wife, my family, my positive attitude and my high level of physical fitness, have been and will continue to be important in fighting this battle.
YES, THIS CANCER CAN GO NOW
I wanted this surgery so bad. I want this cancer out. No radiation! I want the surgery.
In order to be able to have the surgery my scans needed to be clear.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center Nashville TN
February 13th -The scans were done at Vanderbilt Medical Center . Prayers have been answered! The cancer has not spread it appears to be contained within my prostate. Now to convince the surgeon to allow this 73 year old man to undergo Robotic Prostate Cancer Surgery.
My wife and I met with the surgeon. In addition to being a surgeon she is a professor at the Vanderbilt Medical School, and the head of the residency program at Vanderbilt Hospital. But, we had our list of questions.
She spent the first part of the meeting explaining that radiation was just as effective as surgery, and then went through a long list of negative things that could happen with the surgery, especially because of my age. Stroke, death, and a multitude of really bad other things.
Seventy-three is very old for this type of surgery. However, because of my overall physical fitness, my good body mass index, I would have some advantages. But even with my ideal weight and fitness I still had “73 year old parts”. I needed to make my case.
“WELL, DAD I THINK WE SHOULD DO THE SURGERY”
I wanted this surgery so bad! I finally asked her. “So, let’s pretend I’m your 73 year old father, what would you suggest my treatment should be?
Her answer. “Well Dad, I think we should do the surgery.” You are in really good condition for a 73 year. I’ve observed your personality and positive attitude. I think the radiation, coupled with the hormone treatment which is part of it the radiation procedure, would change you in a way that might cause a profound negative effect on your zest for life. Let’s schedule the surgery”.
IN THE BLINK OF EYE
Da Vinci Robotic Surgery. “Big and Scary”, but a miracle worker! I love this guy!
A robotic prostatectomy (Robotic Prostate Surgery) was performed on me on March 5th. I was wheeled into the operating room got a quick glimpse of that huge spider robot (much bigger and scarier than it looks in the picture).
I blinked my eyes and woke up in the recovery room 6 hours later, Terri’s beautiful face smiling down at me. With my cancer-ridden prostate gone.
MY WIFE AS MEDICAL DIRECTOR
We left Vanderbilt Medical Center the next day and began a 4 week recovery process.
I cannot imagine how this recovery would have gone without Terri’s help, almost 24 hours a day. There were things that I had to do for myself, or someone do for me, which I had know idea how to do. Terri learned it all and dit it. What a trouper. What unbelievable sacrifices she made.
With her help the recovery process went by quickly and without any problems. I started walking 2 and then 3 miles a day beginning within a few days after the surgery.
Two other members of my family, both nurses, were so much help. Terri’s sister, Lori, was on the phone almost nightly with instructions and help for Terri and I.
Talking with my sister Marcia was an unbelievable comfort for me. I don’t know what I would have done without the conversations with her early in this process.
Marcia’s recommendation of the book, Getting Well Again, by O’Carl Simonton and Stephanie Mathews-Simonton was the talisman that got me out of my initial depression and on the road to to my new relationship with God and a much needed and effective positive attitude.
IT’S IN GOD’S HANDS
I’m writing this on April 15th, and tomorrow I’m adding running back into my workout, 6 weeks after the surgery.
My follow up appointment is next week. And, it’s at that time we’ll find out what next steps will be.
Hopefully, that’s the end of it and the cancer will be gone or in remission. There may be a need for radiation at some point in the future, but who knows. Yes, I’ll provide an update. As I’ve been saying since January 16th it’s in God’s hands.
NOT ALL MEN WILL DIE OF PROSTATE CANCER, BUT ALL MEN WILL DIE WITH PROSTATE CANCER
That statement may not be totally true but it’s close to true if you look at the numbers.
In addition to making this article the background for episode 2 of the ‘Web Radio Today podcast. I’m also using it as my “coming out”. Yes, I have prostate cancer
And every man I know or every man I can reach with this article, post, and with my podcast needs to know, there’s a killer out there and it could be in your body right now.
Please have that digital exam each year, it’s yucky but it’s a life saver.
Also have your PSA level tested annually. If you know it hasn’t been done in over year, make a special appointment.
The earlier you start getting PSA tests, the more effective they can be because your numbers can be tracked over time
Prostate cancer is now hitting men at a younger and younger age, it also seems to hit black men at a higher rate. And, if you’re having any kind or urinary issues get to your doctor immediately.
I CAN HELP OTHERS
The other thing I urge everybody to do is get in shape. Being in good physical shape helped to ensure that I could get, tolerate and recover from this surgery at my old age of 73.
That’s part of what the Web Radio Today podcast will be all about. Getting you healthy and in shape. Fighting disease.
But even more important that that, we’re going to spend time on our faith, and our positive attitude.
I’ve become somewhat of an expert in dealing with life threatening disease, from the perspective of the patient, or the person who’s trying to avoid it. I’m going to continue to research that information and share it on Web Radio Today
I had two very successful podcasts during the initial days of podcasting. The Get Fit Pod, a health and fitness podcast, and Interval Training Rx, a workout podcast. Both were extremely popular on iTunes world wide
CHECK OUT WEB RADIO TODAY EPISODE 1, MAY 1. 2020
Web Radio Today, with Skip Orem
If you want to get closer to your faith, get fit and healthy, avoid and/or fight life treating disease, join me each week on Web Radio Today.
At least try out Episode 1 and see what think.
Beginning May 1, Web Radio Today will be available at the webradiotoday.com web site, at iTunes, Google Play, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.