About Brian M
My story as a caregiver began approximately three years ago, when my father was suspected of having prostate cancer through a routine office visit and high PSA test. I remember my mother telling me there was nothing to be worried about and that they were going to retest him again in several months, to see if his numbers had increased. I put it at the back of my mind at that point.
Fast forward to a few months later; my mother suddenly passed away unexpectedly and ten days before my first-born child, a girl, was delivered. I live in Minnesota and my parents lived in Central Illinois. I immediately left for Illinois and I spent much time in the next week helping my father make sense of everything, including his doctor’s appointments and medications. After a secondary PSA test a short time later which confirmed his higher than normal PSA level, he was scheduled for a biopsy. It was at that point that I picked up where my mother had left off with her research – helping him to be scheduled for a 3T MRI to be used in the biopsy and utilizing resources and contacts that I found she had saved in her iPad.
About a month later, I flew down to Illinois for the biopsy to be with him and then returned to Minnesota, anxiously awaiting the results. When he received them several days later, I was on speakerphone with him and the doctor when it was confirmed that he indeed, did have prostate cancer – Gleason 3+7. With everything we had been through lately we had hoped for better news, but did not get it. I continued to research, joining many support groups and looking at options for treatment, as my father was presented with essentially one choice; surgery, which terrified both of us.
Through my research, I became connected with Dr. Richard Choo at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. He responded to my emails promptly, confirming that my father was a candidate for brachytherapy and a clinic visit was set up. I flew to Illinois, drove my father up to Minnesota to stay with us and met with Dr. Choo It was at this time that he decided on brachytherapy for his treatment and it was scheduled for three months later. After another trip to Illinois and drive back to Minnesota, it was time for his treatment (with an unexpected cardioversion procedure to treat atrial fibrillation prior to brachytherapy!).
The procedure went successfully and his continued PSA tests have confirmed that the treatment was a success as well. We have also since moved my father just down the street to be closer to us and he was able to be there for the birth of our second child, a son, whose middle name Linden is a tribute to my mother (Linda). Given the circumstances, he missed the birth of our daughter and I was thrilled that he was able to be there the second time. I continue to do all I can to support him, including attending all of his follow up visits and keeping tabs on his medications (and making sure he takes them!). This journey has been extensive; through two births, two family deaths and the coordination a new home and move. I can only hope that I have made my mother proud stepping into her shoes in helping him through this journey and picking up where she left off.