Last month, my family and I celebrated my dad's 68th birthday. To most, this is not a milestone. It's been three years since his 65th birthday and two years away until he reaches the big 7-0!
So why the post... On July 7, 2011, my dad heard those words that we dread the most - "you have cancer."
After many years of rising PSA numbers and based on my background working in the cancer prevention & early detection field, I always knew in the back of mind that this diagnosis was inevitable. But it was not easy to accept.I've been with the American Cancer Society for nearly 11 years and thought personally, I would be more prepared when cancer hit so close to home. But naturally, it was hard to accept and very challenging to stay strong through the entire scary process...doctor's appointments, consultations, second opinions, CT scans, blood work, test results, paperwork, etc.
Since I work for one of the largest cancer organizations, my dad (& family) depended on me to weigh in on making an informed decision (surgery vs. radiation). It truly felt like I had the world on my shoulders. I accompanied my dad to as many doctor's appointment as I could and tried my hardest to ensure my mom that it would be OK..." they caught the prostate cancer early and we will get through this together..." But still not easy.
In the end, I used partnersips developed though the American Cancer Society to get my dad an appointment with the chief of urology at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey and we were impressed with his skills, expertise and experience. Ultimately, based on his diagnosis my dad decided to move forward with the robotic surgery.
On November 9th, my dad underwent surgery. The recovery process was tough at times but I am proud to say that my dad is now cancer-free with a PSA score of 0.0001. The lowest it has ever been!
I have spent countless hours at American Cancer Socity events (Relay For Life, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walks and Run For Dad) describing how the American Cancer Society is creating a world with more birthdays and less cancer.
But this past year, I have truly appreciated the work of the American Cancer Society. This year's birthday is even more special. My dad is a cancer survivor!Happy Birthday to the best dad & pop-pop we could ask for!This year more than 11 million cancer survivors will celebrate another birthday, thanks in part to the progress of cancer research. Join the American Cancer Society birthday movement - www.morebirthdays.com.