Arnold S.

Prostate Cancer - Stage I

Arnold-S-Prostate
quotation

The doctors gave me confidence that I had a chance of survival. I decided at that point to have my treatments at CTCA, knowing that it was the best option for me. With all my concerns and goals in mind, my care team presented me with several treatment options. What I appreciated most was that they also educated me about each option and answered all the questions that I had. They discussed the pros and cons of each option. I learned so much more about my cancer.

I am the 13th of 14 children, born and raised on a family farm in Coahoma County, Mississippi. I lived at home with my parents until 1974, when I left home to attend Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi. I graduated in May 1976 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and got a job working as an insurance underwriter. I also accepted a calling to the ministry, and I have been a pastor since September 1976.

In August 1977, I married my love, Lillie, who has been my motivator and has always encouraging me. Together, we have four children and six grandchildren, with more grandchildren on the way.

My days are busy as a licensed insurance agent and owner of A & L Enterprises. I am also a realtor with Keller Williams Realty. I was appointed to serve the city of Byram, Mississippi, as one of its first Election Commissioners in 2009. I have also served as a Commissioner on the Planning and Zoning Board. My wife retired in 2013 after 36 years at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMC), as a physician scheduler. I went there every year for free prostate screenings until she retired.

In January 2015, I went to see my urologist for an annual prostate check, including testing my PSA level. After reviewing past results, my doctor realized it was elevated and ordered a biopsy for me. I waited over two weeks for results, and I finally called the office. The nurse put me on hold, and later came back and told me that I needed to come into the office that day.

At that point, I was very nervous. We met with the doctor, and I really don’t remember much of what he said except that I had cancer. I started thinking about all the people with cancer I loved and prayed for who didn’t survive their fight. I thought of my dad, who died of prostate cancer, and a brother who was also diagnosed. My immediate thoughts were negative, and I didn’t have much hope.

The doctor told me I had three options to consider. The first was a wait-and-see approach, which was essentially to do nothing. The other two were surgery and radiation. I had no idea what I was supposed to do and no context about the options. I was overwhelmed and discouraged. I knew I didn’t want to wait, I wanted to take action. I wanted to get rid of this cancer in my body.

Taking steps to move ahead

While working for UMC, my wife had heard a lot about Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA). I had seen its commercials, so I was familiar with CTCA®, too. One night, my wife made a phone call to CTCA, and after getting more information, she made an appointment for me in February 2015.

After a six-hour drive, we arrived at the hospital near Atlanta in Newnan, Georgia, for an initial evaluation. I walked in, and I was immediately struck by the atmosphere. It didn’t feel like a hospital; it felt like a cruise ship. Everyone was so helpful and friendly. It was clear that the focus here was all about the patient. I got to meet my care team, and I immediately connected with them.

The doctors gave me confidence that I had a chance of survival. I decided at that point to have my treatments at CTCA, knowing that it was the best option for me. With all my concerns and goals in mind, my care team presented me with several treatment options. What I appreciated most was that they also educated me about each option and answered all the questions that I had. They discussed the pros and cons of each option. I learned so much more about my cancer.

I chose to have surgery on April 3, 2015. My surgery was on a Friday, but my blood pressure was elevated, and my care team carefully monitored me, keeping me as an inpatient in the hospital longer than anticipated. Whenever I needed a nurse, they were always quick to respond. The compassion I experienced was like nothing I had before. My children came to visit and were warmly welcomed and included. My care team worked tirelessly to help me through every step of my journey.

I had access to supportive care clinicians, and I worked with a naturopathic provider and a clinical oncology dietitian, to help manage side effects. I met with the pastoral care team, and they helped guide me to find hope. Another encouraging moment was when one of my doctors prayed with me. He also referenced the scripture and asked me not to allow my condition to captivate my mind. He suggested that I not allow fear to invade my heart, so that I could fight this battle.

Keep moving forward

After surgery, all my scans have come back with no evidence of cancer. At first, I went back to CTCA every three months for check-ups. It was later changed to every six months. Now, I return every year for tests and scans. I actually look forward to seeing everyone. It’s like a big family reunion when I return.

Going through cancer changes you. You learn to appreciate each day a bit more. You are more thankful. I continue to share my ministry as a pastor. I also share my story with as many people as possible, to give hope to others. I have referred a few friends to CTCA, and they’ve had positive experiences, as well. I tell others to call CTCA for a second opinion and get an appointment as soon as possible. The staff there is so helpful, and they will do what they can to help you.

A few years after my diagnosis, I was selected by CTCA to be a member of its Cancer Fighters Care Network (CFCN). As a member of CFCN, I connect with prospective patients who may have a similar experience as mine. When we speak to them, I share my overall experience and try to provide hope.

Going through cancer has made our family stronger. I appreciate our time together, and many of my children and grandchildren live close to me. We attend church together and spend many Sundays gathering for meals. I’ve been here on this earth longer, and I have gotten to see my children reach milestones. I’m happy I’ve gotten to celebrate their successes with them.

My wife and I enjoy traveling. We’ve been to South Africa, Israel, Bahamas, Hawaii, Jamaica and Canada. We’ve traveled to 38 states, and we hope to see the other 12, too. I am fortunate to have more time and the chance to grow old with my wife. We are enjoying our time together and appreciating life’s blessings.

I give glory to God, and I’m thankful for the entire CTCA staff for creating a great environment for cancer patients to experience healing and hope.

Diagnosed:
January 2015
Treatment at:
Care team