Victory Over Stage IV Metastatic Prostate Cancer

by GregP_WN

I am Jeff Poole, my diagnosis is stage IV metastatic prostate cancer. My journey began in the winter of 2014 when I started experiencing pain in my groin. I would later discover what I assumed was a pulled groin muscle to my surprise would turn out to be cancer.  

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My pain seemed to be getting better until I slipped on the ice in January of 2015. In February, I went to my Doctor and after finding no muscle issues my doctor ordered blood work. When the blood work results came back, they revealed that my Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) was 11, with 4 being normal for my age. 

In March, I had a bone scan and a prostate biopsy confirming my cancer with a PSA that was now 26. During the next couple of months my wife, Sherrie and I did a ton of research. I read enough to scare myself, so I decided to let Sherrie research and then discuss her findings with me. 

When we met with my Surgeon he sat with us and explained everything one might want to know about prostate cancer and my options. We had decided that prostate removal would be the smart choice if the cancer had not metastasized. The surgeon questioned an issue on the bone scan report, which led to more x-rays and the discovery of two lesions on my pubic bone. I was then referred to my Oncologist. When we met with the Oncologist he sent me for a bone biopsy. The biopsy confirmed the lesions were prostate cancer metastasis.

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A plan for my treatment was developed, which involved an aggressive new treatment that had just been introduced at a symposium in Chicago in May. My plan involved a bombardment of hormone, chemo, steroid therapies, and a monthly shot of (Xgeva), a bone strengthening medication. I was scheduled for 6 treatments, one every 3 weeks beginning June 11th. 

By the end of treatment 3, my PSA was down to 8.03 which was great news. And, by the end of treatment 5 my PSA was down to 0.01. On September 24, I was declared in remission. I continued to receive Xgeva shots every month for 2 years. The hormone therapy remains, I receive a Lupron shot every 6 months. As of 10/18/19 my PSA remains 0.008. My cancer is termed undetectable.

After a chemo treatment there are many different side effects which depend on your chemo med and how your body reacts. Some of us get sick, feel weak, get tired, have no appetite, or a combination of those things. When we did eat, most times the food had no taste or a peculiar one at best. I would look at Sherrie and ask does this taste good?

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One aspect of this journey people often overlook is the mental side. When we hear of somebody having cancer, we don’t think about how it affects them mentally. Most times we wonder about the cancer fighter’s physical condition. I ran through my cancer fight like I was on a downhill course. Many must run uphill all the time. 

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I had cancer buddy (Angela) 23 years younger, my daughters age, and always running uphill, FIGHTING! I was guilt ridden sometimes, wondering why was I cruising, and Angela was fighting. Then I would cry, and Sherrie would ask what’s wrong. I would say just, thinking about Angela. I just couldn’t understand why her and not me? I certainly didn't know it was the beginning of a mental battlefield too.

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The hurtle is huge! When you hear the phrase “YOU HAVE CANCER” it changes your life, forever! I remember my very first thought being, how long I have? In the beginning we don’t even realize we have two battles going on, due to the outpouring of support from friends and family. We along with our caregivers, and the nurses that poke, prod us, provide our treatments deal with mountains of anxiety during our journey even after remission or cure if we are so blessed. 

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Early in 2017, I lost my first survivor/fighter friend. Shortly after that I began to experience short periods of time when would feel depressed and I didn’t understand why. Several months later I was talking with another survivor that cruised through her breast cancer journey, just as I had with my prostate cancer. When I described my feelings, her immediate response was “You have survivor's guilt.” My friend Angela passed in July of 2017, sending me into a depression I couldn’t escape. On the third visit, my therapist said my biggest issue was being a survivor. Survivor's Guilt!

Jeff is a survivor of stage IV metastatic prostate cancer and an avid Relayer. Relay For Life is Jeff's way of giving back and celebrating being a cancer survivor. If you would like to share your inspiring cancer story contact us for more information about how you can easily do that.  

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