About Tim M.
Last year I was diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer. I was sure it was a mistake. I’m too young for this, I thought. I take care of myself. I have young kids. It wasn’t a mistake. I have prostate cancer.
When I was diagnosed, I was told about the disease and how to treat it. But I wasn’t told about how to handle the hardest part. The hardest part isn’t having surgery, or getting radiation, or taking all the pills. Not by a long shot. The hardest part is telling your kids you have cancer.
I am 48 years old (young for this crappy disease), and mine is aggressive. I was diagnosed several months after my uncle had his prostate removed, and about a month before my dad was diagnosed. I was lucky to catch it fairly early, but it has spread locally and so I’m in for a fight. The fight I can handle. “Kick it,” I told my docs. I’m young, I have young kids, don’t leave anything on the table. Be aggressive in your treatment. I’m now five weeks into radiation, and it’s not easy. But Maria is there for me, and for our kids.
We have three – two boys in 6th and 5th grades, and a feisty 3rd grade girl. Maria and I talked a lot about this kids and how to tell them. We ultimately sat them down, looked them in the eye, and told them the truth. I couldn’t have done it without Maria. She honestly has no idea how strong she is, how helpful she is, and how she’s beating cancer. Mine.
Every day Maria tells me that I’m going to beat this, even when I’m not so sure myself. Every day I go through radiation and in the hospital I see people who have support like Maria gives me, and I see people who don’t. In those with support, I see hope and strength. In a knowing smile or a nod of the head, we silently communicate as we pass each other in the hall. You can beat this.
But this isn’t in all. In some, I see dejection. I see heads hanging, shoulders sagging. I see despair. “You need hope” I think to them. Thank you Maria. You give me hope, and you give me strength. I love you.
Caregiving is so many things to whoever needs it. I’m young and strong, but I need Maria’s care to beat this. She helps our young kids have normalcy in their routine. She keeps my chin up when I’m struggling. She tells me to take a nap when my body needs rest. She doesn’t let me pity where I am or what I have. She struggles and she worries, but she keeps me strong and positive.
Please keep encouraging caregivers. Please keep letting them know that they make a difference, whatever they do. Whether it’s pushing a wheel chair or feeding a meal, or helping someone take their meds. Or whether it’s playing with the kids while I take a nap, or getting them ready for school alone when I need to sleep a little longer. I can’t do this alone, but I know that I don’t have to. I love you Maria.