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Q&A with Prostate Cancer Warrior David Stinnett

PCF is grateful to Mr. David Stinnett for sharing his prostate cancer journey. Read on to find out his advice to newly-diagnosed patients, friends, and family.

David rings the bell after completing radiation therapy treatments.

How and when were you diagnosed with prostate cancer?

I went to my primary care provider to get help with ED [erectile dysfunction] issues.  She ordered labs, including PSA in February 2019.  My PSA was 12.76, which is 3 times the max normal level.  I had an appointment with a urologist in March, she set me up for a prostate biopsy.  Her sensitivity and encouragement got me to agree to it.  Biopsy in April 2019 revealed 2 out of 12 samples were positive for prostate cancer,  Gleason score was 5 + 5 = 10.  Highest possible,  denoting a very aggressive type of PCa.  I got my diagnosis May 2, 2019.

What has been most difficult part of your prostate cancer journey? What did you do to help yourself get through it?

Surgery which was supposed to take 2 ½ – 3 hours required 7 hours under general anesthesia due to the unique (freakish) growth or enlargement of my prostate.   The strain on my system for that prolonged time under probably triggered my heart attack two weeks later.  It was not treated, manifested as “heartburn“. The next day I had an out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest in my home on the night of July 4th 2019.

David and his dog, Shadow

How has your experience through prostate cancer changed you?
I’ve been blessed with a wife and children that are loving and supportive and encouraging. My community has excellent quality professional fire and police departments who work together to provide care. My local hospital has an excellent cardiac center and all of that together saved me.  I am beyond grateful.   I have 5 years post diagnosis and surgery this year.  My cancer is recurring and metastatic.   I had radiation after the surgery.   Radiation cystitis,  a recurrence and 3 or 4 procedures after that.  Now I am on multiple ADT treatments.  I am still thankful and very much aware of the loving support system I have.  It’s not perfect,  I have bad days (sometimes bad weeks).  But, I keep going.

What questions do you think that newly-diagnosed patients ask their doctor, early on? What things do you know now, that you wish you knew then?

The relationship between you and your doctors is very important.   It has to start with a mutual respect,  and can became a more friendly environment.   They MUST listen to your concerns.   If you have multiple health issues  like I have had, they MUST work together with each other.

How can family and friends best support a person during prostate cancer?

Take you cues from your cancer warrior, most of us have a different sense of humor.  But we still have a LOT of feelings. Try to give us a little grace, but don’t hesitate to push back if we are rude or obnoxious.

How are you doing now?

Good.  I’m on a short break from one of my ADT meds due to side effects.  Hot flashes, fatigue,  sadness/depression had gotten really bad.  I have two support groups on Facebook that have helped me a lot, Man Up To Cancer, the Howling Place Group and the PC Tribe, Mohawk Mission. Of course PCF.org is a fantastic resource.

Editor’s note: Mr. Stinnett shares his experience is his own words. Please consult your doctor regarding your individual health situation.

Learn more:

Managing rising PSA after initial treatment

Treating metastatic hormone-sensitive prostate cancer