Bubba had been monitoring his PSA tests for prostate cancer for a while when things shifted from Active Surveillance (yes, that’s a term) to time-to-act. Bubba is a voracious reader and researcher. He read: books, articles, medical studies. He talked with a friend who’d gone through a prostate cancer diagnosis 10-years earlier. But other than one friend, it was a solitary exploration.
Years ago, I joined a Facebook Group for women going grey. No, it’s nothing like cancer, and yet, it was comforting and helpful to spend time with people going through a shared experience. I appreciated the support and the vulnerability people shared as they dealt with insensitive comments, insecurities, doubts and successes. I suggested to Bubba there might be a similar group for prostate cancer.
The Prostate Cancer Support Group he joined has over 10,000 people—men and women—from around the world. After joining, reading, asking questions, and commenting, Bubba told me he was glad I’d suggested it; said I might want to join. I’m glad I did. The group has been a blessing. In appreciation of the group and the people there—all going through an incredibly difficult time—I posted this to the group page.
I’ve told many people how grateful I am for this group. Not for why it exists, but that it does. It helped my partner decide what treatment to select after the doctor told him he could no longer watch and wait. It’s given me a place to gain perspective and wisdom. Not just about prostate cancer, but about life.
The energy here is an energy of “presence” to what’s important. People talk about fears, hopes, sadness and joys with a visceral openness. People share in ways that are raw and funny, sad and heartfelt. I’m touched by it.
I read posts and know there’s an amazing variety of people here from around the world, people I’d never meet in my day-to-day life. When someone joins this group, no one cares what type of car they drive; what they do for a living; the size of their house. Members want to know how they can help this new arrival, this person who is trying to navigate a cancer diagnosis that devastates and scares them.
Cancer knows no boundaries. People with cancer instantly share a connection with every other person with cancer. People of all affiliations and ages and colors and races and income and all other groups are here. Interacting; being kind; compassionate; supportive; loving.
That’s what connects us. That ability to be present to the experience and emotions of others, oblivious to labels.
For all who post and all who simply witness and learn, this group reminds me we’re all connected. For that, I’m immensely grateful. There is hope in that feeling. Thank you.
Bubba chose to have a robotic radical prostatectomy in March. He was pleased with the procedure and is doing well with his recovery. And, it’s cancer. It was surgery. There are side-effects associated with the procedure and further monitoring to be done. He’s in good shape, and he’s still on the recovery path.
And as a Public Service Announcement, don’t tell anyone with prostate cancer they have the easy cancer; per the FB Group, yes, people say that. Some with prostate cancer suffer side-effects that permanently, drastically change their lives and, for others, it’s a death sentence. If you’re a guy or know a guy, tell them to learn about the PSA test (and get theirs tested). There are guys in the FB Group in their 30’s and 40’s with prostate cancer.
Photo source: marijana 1 on Pixabay