Finding a Silver Lining in My Journey through Prostate Cancer: William Houston
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After my first surgery, my doctor suggested that I attend a local support group, which I found very helpful as men and their wives share their experiences in a supportive way. My wife is a uterine cancer survivor of over forty years, and she makes herself available to women who are also helping their loved ones deal with their own prostate situations. As the American Cancer Society sponsors this group, I accepted an invitation from them to participate in a "Man to Man" training program. After becoming more involved, I participated in the "Let's Talk About It" program, and I began to give Prostate Cancer Awareness talks to local organizations. I was also Chairman of the local "Relay for Life" program for two years. Currently, I am the facilitator of a Man to Man support group and the co-facilitator of another group in a nearby city. Maintaining these roles, I am continually rewarded in being a part of the American Cancer Society's activities and programs.
All of my experiences provided me with a greater awareness of prostate cancer issues, and I was pleased to be invited to attend the Department of Defense Prostate Cancer Research Program (PCRP) peer review in the Washington, DC area. Since this first PCRP experience, I have been invited back to serve on additional panels, and I attended the first IMPaCT (Innovative Minds in Prostate Cancer Today) conference in Atlanta, Georgia. I feel my involvement in and exposure to current programs is very rewarding and most valuable in keeping me more informed and knowledgeable regarding the state of the science. This also helps to prepare me for the roles of group facilitator and Man to Man counselor, as well as my other volunteer involvements. As a Veteran with Agent Orange-related issues, I find that I have a unique opportunity to be of help in the Veteran community.
It is exciting and encouraging to be involved with these men and women, whose dedication and devotion contribute to bringing closer the cure for cancer. Having survived the complications of prostate cancer, I am able to live a full and rewarding life today. My wife and I are living examples of the positive results of cancer research and its promise of future advances. The cancer journey is certainly not pleasant, and while we are always aware of medical advances and the hope they bring, people with cancer issues are most aware of anxiety and dread. It is in working with these people that I find my experience and knowledge in these PCRP programs becomes most valuable. It can be the "silver lining" that gives meaning to an unpleasant experience.