Wednesday, May 26, 2010

2nd Anniversary Update - My Son's Perspective

On May 29th, 2010 it will be the 2nd Anniversary of the day I was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer. Its a bitter sweet anniversary becuase its a reminder of the darkest day of my life and on the flip side so much good has come out of my experience. I have met so many great people through my blog and I am in the best shape of my life. I thank God for everyday and have much better clarity on what is important in life.

From a health perspective my BP is normal and pulse has dropped into the high 60's in a relaxed state. My stress level is very low and am really enjoying life. I haven't fully recovered from the incontinence caused by my surgery in December. I am going through physical therapy which has helped and I only have slight leakage when I am running. My PT seams to think I will recover once we are done. The ED has not healed but has not been a problem with the use of medications, etc and a loving wife.

As you know from my previous blog entries that I signed up for a Half Marathon in October, but I have have made the decision to do my first full Marathon in January 2011 at Disney in Orlando. This is a huge committment on my part especially since I have only been a runner for 1.8 years, but I want to do this to create awareness for Prostate Cancer and will be racing for "Team Winter" (www.teamwinter.org). I also want to do this for myself as a tribute to surviving cancer and in the memory of friends and family we have lost to cancer especially for my mother-in-law who lost her battle with breast cancer in 2000 and my father-in-law who lost his battle with cancer in 2003.

My 12 year old son was recently tasked with writing a personal narrative paper for school and he decided to write about his thoughts when I was diagnosed through today. (He was 10 when I was diagnosed). I wanted to share in his words the paper he wrote as it gives you insight of what your family is going through when you are diagnosed with cancer.

Personal Narrative by: Tyler Ritch

Summer 2008. Many would just say, "I remember then! I broke my knee then!" or, "That summer I found $2,000", but that's not how I remember it.

My father went on as a nice man, he carried a little weight, and had a good job. But during 2008's summer he developed prostate cancer. It made him a little less confident and me very anxious.

I didn't know what to expect. I had just lived on, being my normal self. I had some concern, but I knew my father's fate was in the hand's of God. I also knew that my dad was a believer, so if anything went wrong I would once see him again, far away in heaven.

My father, on the other hand, had tiny sparks of confidence. He sort of secretly felt scared, I could see right through him. We as a family prayed for him, especially when he went to surgery.

My very own dad had to go through surgery on June 30th, 2008. His surgeon had experience and could control a robot's arm to carry through the surgery. I always pictured in my head a surgeon reading a manual to robot arm controls and sipping a frosty cold diet coke. That was me trying to be humorous, but I still felt scared. So, we just waited until he came home.

My mom went to Shand's to pick up my father. When he walked in the house (climbed actually) I held all of my emotion back. I said a small hello and just left him. I should have hugged him slower becuase he was in pain.

Later he showed me stitches on his stomach. He expalined that his surgeon took out my father's prostate and luckily the cancer was confined inside of it. He made it through safely, but by a year another problem arose.

After his surgery, he worked an effort to lose weight. He ran, biked and swam a whole triathlon, ran a five kilometer race and one duathlon. But when he went to his doctor's for a checkup, something was wrong with his remains of his prostate area. There was a kind of material from those stitches inside his body. I felt like I was going through the problem all over again.

I actually felt more emotion becuase I was older and more mature. I prayed along with my mom, but I thought that the second time isn't the best time. So I just lived on again with a huge anchor of feelings.

My father survived his second trial when his surgeon blasted his material with a lazer of some sort. He was finally okay.

And so I finally had the ability to feel relief when my father came home okay. I felt glad to see that he lost all his extra weight and ran many more races, adventure races, another triathlon and a 10 kilometer race. He now had so much confidence, he had so much wisdom and many explanations to all my problems. I really think he changed after his two surgeries, becuase he had so much more reason and considerance, it taught me that you shouldn't have to learn to be a good person by almost dying, you should already learn to be nice and considerate to others.

Obviously I was very touched when I read his words. Its so easy to get caught up in the diagnosis/treatment and lose sight of how your family is feeling during the trial. I am so glad he shared this with me, I love him with all my heart and appreciate his support through all this, he has been a trooper!

God Bless You!
Darren

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your blog. So nice to read your son's letter. I am sure he is an amazing young man. I can feel your faith and I am glad you continue very strong with your relationship with God. My husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer at 45 years old two weeks ago. We are going to see Dr. Patel in Orlando June 23rd and we are also looking for different doctors
here in south florida. I love my husband, we are married for 20 years and like your wife, I will be there all the way to support him. We have two girls, 18 and 15. The oldest one is going to college this fall. Thank you again so much for sharing your journey. Hope everything gets better and better for you and your family. May God bless you. From a wife from South Florida.