Clair McKean: My name is Clair and I had prostate cancer in early 2004 and I have been cancer free since May 2004. I was very freaked out in that I just couldn’t imagine that I really had cancer. It’s one of those things that you just don’t think it would happen to you necessarily, especially when you feel good.
They said that they would do a radical complete surgery and that was the only thing that would save me, and so in having that diagnosis I wanted to get a second opinion. We were visiting with my sister-in-law and my wife’s folks in Tulsa, Oklahoma and it was time for us to leave to go back home four and a half hours.
So we started to walk out the door when the Cancer Treatment Centers commercial came on the air. So we wrote down the 800 number; took that back to Texas with us and called the 800 number and in speaking to the oncology information services representative on the 800 number, she shared with us then what the Cancer Treatment Centers would do in helping me understand what I have and what they could do and would do in working with me.
When you are first told that you have cancer it really makes you sit back and realize how important every second of your life is. Our first thoughts were we have seven children and I have a wonderful wife. It was one of those things that you think you are not through working with them yet, you just want to be around them and I wasn’t through being involved with my kids, the youngest at that time being 11.
And so in sharing with them and such they said, “How do you feel”, and that’s when we had our first real sit down and cry and that’s when I responded with, “Well, I am just not through working with you yet and the others, and so I am not ready to give up. We’ve got to fight this thing and we are going to make it”, and it sounded like the Cancer Treatment Centers was the right place to go.
When we were initially flown to the Cancer Treatment Center and picked up in one of their limousines and taken to the hospital for their own diagnosis and a second opinion for us, it was amazing to me that they were right there waiting for us. They had our name on a sign at the airport so that we didn’t have to look around to find somebody.
It seemed that they had thought of everything that was needed so that you wouldn’t have to stress in your mind about what’s going to be happening or what’s taking place. One of the other things that was so important to us was we weren’t, we didn’t have to call the doctor and setup something for two weeks later and then two weeks after that they finally get back with you and tell you something else.
The Cancer Treatment Centers set it up to where when you get there things are just done in an order and a proper manner and you don’t have to wait a long time to get any kind of responses with the Cancer Treatment Center. We were through the initial process of radiation and the brachytherapy itself, between those two things the doctors really stayed so much involved in everything you are doing. They want to keep on top of any pain you are having or any side effects that you are having through the treatments and they are constantly asking, “How do you feel? What’s going on?” And the follow up is there.
Dr. Chang was a very, very good doctor that I really enjoyed being with and talking to while we had the treatments through radiation and such, and Judy, his nurse, working with us she was always excited to see when you came up to the desk and she would take you back and get you ready to see him. She would do some of the check ups with him and such, and she was always so positive whether it was on the phone or whether it was there in the office area.
Judy was one of these nurses that you are just very interested in ‘what’s going on with them’ and I think that comes about both because of your own nature but because they are so interested in you, and every time I would approach their desk I know there were times as I would just come through that area of the hospital and walk through, just so I could say ‘hi’.
It’s important to have people that believe in you and that they are there to do whatever they can to help you in every way and Judy was one of those people who would reach out and not just talk to you across the desk. She would come around to the other side and she’d put her arm in yours and she’d say, “How are you doing today? What’s going on today? Are you ready?” And so forth like that, and the fact that she was so sincere and interested in what’s going on, just made you feel like you weren’t in the struggle by yourself or just with your family. There’s others that really care and it’s not just a job for them and she would show that I think in every way that she would reach out to meet you for your needs.
It’s great to be able to go to a place that gives you a lot of hope. The initial doctor that diagnosed it didn’t give any hope at all. It was just that ‘we need to remove this’ and then they never talked about any follow-up; didn’t talk about anything that was going to help, other than surgery. So it was great to be able to go to the Cancer Treatment Center and hear them say, “You know, we believe that surgery may cause this to spread so we would rather not do the surgery since we cannot see that it’s outside of the prostate yet we would rather not do surgery, instead we will do the radiation and we will also do the high-dose radiation, which was brachytherapy”.
My nature is to be very positive and so in every way I felt like we could beat this. Once we got to the point I think of understanding and realizing yes, the cancer is there. Yes, there’s things they can do about it. I really tried to put that in God’s hands and really believed in my heart that when he is through with me and my purpose in this life then I really don’t want to live any longer than that, but that I am not through living my life right now so it gave me the feeling that he wasn’t through with me either. So everyday, as I go to work today even, I usually start off with saying ‘well, it’s another chance to get it right’ and I am very thankful for those chances to get it right everyday.