Atlanta KCOB and Chapter Director, Mike Martin, was diagnosed with prostate cancer earlier this year. He agreed to share his experience with the disease through an interview for the KC Times.
How did you first learn that you had prostate cancer?
I had a routine physical done and in the results, it showed I had an elevated PSA score. I was referred to see the Urologists. A biopsy was done and the result came back positive.
How did you and family handle the news?
They were surprised and shocked. Their first response was to come together and form a support group.
Can you tell us how you decided what course of action to take?
I did a lot of research. I spoke to a lot of survivors, friends and professionals and asked a lot of questions. It was the feedback that I got from them and my family that helped me to decide.
How did you prepare for the procedure?
I conditioned my mind and thanked the Lord for revealing it to me in time. I prayed and planned my schedule so I could have maximum recovery time with my family’s time and support.
What was the actual surgery like?
It was very good and quick. It was almost an outpatient procedure. I did the radical (removal of the prostate). Luckily, the cancer was contained in the prostate.
What were your thoughts before and after surgery?
I thought about how my life was going to be adjusted and how my family would handle my recovery process and side effects. Also how my social life would be affected.
What are the most challenging aspects of your recovery process?
The down time; getting in and out of bed; wearing of the catheter; incontinence, walking and the use of the stairs. Menu changes due to taste bud adjustment.
Did you get depressed?
Yes, at times. Especially when I was unable to control myself in certain circumstance, you sometimes feel like you are a burden and that leads to depressing thoughts. However, my family was so good at keeping me happy, clean and focused. My good friends were there for me also.
What lies ahead for you medically?
There are standard visits that must be made during the road to recovery. Changing my eating and drinking habits and doing a lot of exercise.
How would you summarize the whole experience of detection and treatment?
I sometimes feel concern for uninsured people because I may not have been able to follow all the steps that led me to this discovery, but having said that, I would advise all men over 40 with a history of cancer in the family (since it is hereditary), to get tested annually in order to catch it early. It is the difference between life and death.
It is said that Jamaican men have an inordinate fear getting tested, what do you say?
I say, drop the culture and pick up medical awareness and knowledge.
What would you say to family members of someone facing the prospect of prostate cancer?
Three in every six men may have it. Wouldn’t you want to be sure that you do not have it? If you do have it, by early detection, you can prolong quality of life. “Not knowing is no substitute for dying from it”. Get your check up.