Shades of Gray
At first glance, we might seem like an unlikely couple.
He’s black and I’m white.
He’s a Christian and I’m a Jew.
He’s logical and I’m emotional.
He’s private and I’m an open book.
But, when we met in January of 2015, the many, many things we had in common quickly overshadowed our superficial differences. We both love cooking (and eating) and traveling, and watching the news, and movies, and dancing and and and and and. You get the gist. It was like lightning in a bottle.
Within a short period of time, we were in love, planning a future together and (cue the ominous music) taking on prostate cancer – an insidious disease that’s the second leading cause of cancer deaths among American men.
But, looking on the bright side, finding prostate cancer when it is still at an early stage offers the best hope for living cancer free for a long time. The most recent research shows the five-year survival rate for all men with prostate cancer is nearly 100 percent. The relative 10-year survival rate is 99 percent, and 94 percent for 15 years.
And unlike other types of cancer, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all protocol for treatment. Options range from surgery, to radiation to “watching and waiting” based on the severity and aggressiveness of the disease, as well as the age and health of the patient.
And so began our “healing and dealing” adventure. We are cancer fighting superheroes in a cosmic game of chicken — us vs. the cancer — weighing the potential benefits of the various treatments against the possible life-altering side effects. And we quickly discovered that there are no simple black or white answers. Just a million shades which-of-these-options-is-better grey.
But it’s not all gloom and doom. Given that Paul was a fit 52-year-old with early stage prostate cancer, he first decided to first explore non-invasive alternative treatments not currently available in the U.S. in the hope that it would buy him additional time before more conventional and aggressive treatment was warranted. Now, three years later, it’s time to embark on more traditional treatment in the hopes of eliminating his cancer for good.
We’ll be documenting our story via this blog and it’s our hope that it will be helpful to other men (and couples).
Thanks for taking this journey with us.
Paul and Jill