My Journey with Prostate Cancer
By Mike H.
I began treatment for prostate cancer in 2006. In February of 2009 my doctors found that my cancer had not responded to the radioactive seed implants and other treatments. It had metastasized to my bones. A course of treatment to suppress the male hormone and other drug treatments showed hope for a while, but by January 2010 it was determined that I needed to begin chemotherapy.
It was at this time that I was fortunate enough to be considered for a clinical trial for the drug atrasentan in combination with docetaxel and prednisone. I felt that this was a wonderful opportunity and immediately applied for the program.
Why was I enthusiastic about this program?
- The initial interview was conducted with sensitivity and a positive attitude.
- My questions, and my wife’s questions, were answered candidly and completely.
- I would still receive the normal course of treatment called for my cancer.
- I may be receiving an experimental drug that could be helpful in treating my cancer.
- A percentage of the participants receive a placebo. Even if one receives this, you are contributing to the study by providing a “control” in the scientific process.
- The “protocols” of the program require even more observation, blood work, and testing than is typical with my disease.
- Finally, participating gives one a sense of making a contribution to society.
My experiences since beginning the program have confirmed my thoughts. Additionally, I feel that I have added to my support group through contact with the medical professionals that administer the program. A support group, in my opinion, is the most important aid in maintaining a positive attitude in the battle against this disease. My wife, of course, is my number one source of support, information and care. I am fortunate enough to have three daughters who are constantly giving me encouragement and five grandchildren who light up my day when we are together. My sister and brother, nieces and nephews and in-laws have all been supportive and helpful.
In addition to family, I would advise anyone who is going through this difficult battle to use every resource available. Don’t hide your disease, be open and let your friends and co-workers know what you have been going through. I have found such incredible kindness and help from these sources. I am fortunate to be able to continue working full time and have gotten help and kindness from co-workers, supervisors and managers at my place of employment. When I lost my hair from chemotherapy, a group of the young men in my office shaved their heads in support. When I found it too difficult to walk through my employer’s immense warehouse, my co-workers took my documents to the warehouse without asking. Random acts of kindness by near strangers have been the rule rather than the exception.
I hope that anyone going through the kind of treatment I am receiving considers the option of participating in an experimental drug program and receives the emotional lift that it can provide.