Ric Masten was diagnosed with advanced metastatic prostate cancer on Valentine’s Day 1999. He describes himself as a poet/philosopher. He reacted by doing what he does best, he wrote.
His first entry begins:
January , 1999
— Like most older men I had avoided the annual checkup for years. The proverbial ostrich with his head stuck deeply into the sand of the workaday world. I felt fine so why bother? Of course, what really kept me out of the doctors office was the thought that he just might find something wrong. Strangely, running parallel with this is the fact that I am also a closet hypochondriac. A psychological disorder that comes in two varieties — I’ve been both. Under forty, I ran to the doctor over every imagined symptom. “Ric, if you’d stop handling your pancreas it wouldn’t be sore” — over forty, becoming the aforementioned ostrich. “What I don’t know won’t hurt me.”
— When I turned 69, wife finally forced me to go in for a general checkup. I can remember Doctor Kennedy, a neat old guy, saying: “Well Ric, you have become pretty crotchety so, just to be on the safe side, I think we’ll do some run-of-the-mill blood work. Check for Diabetes, do a PSA, etc. If the results turn up anything negative I’ll call you.” He never called. Whew!
— Eleven months later, I developed this pain in my groin that, in time, put me on a cane. After ducking the issue for a month or two I finally made an appointment with Dr. Kennedy. Stroking his chin he said. “There are no vital organs where you are hurting so it’s probably just a pulled ligament.” He prescribed a high powered anti-inflammatory and told me that he was going to be away for two weeks and if I wasn’t better by the time he got back to come and see him again. Also mentioned, in passing, that I might go see a urologist as he had heard that kidney stones sometimes cause a pain in that region.
— Four days later the pain was growing worse. So I did go to see a local urologist. Got his name out of the yellow pages.
His musings are interspersed with his poetry about his journey with his disease. He shows his hope and his humanness throughout his journal. Ric is currently dealing with a clinical trial he calls Sponge Bob Square Pants trail. He deals with his ups and downs with a sense of humor that is refreshing when reading about the seriousness of his disease.
Men dealing with advanced disease can gain hope while reading about his nine year journey with prostate cancer.
Ric’s advocacy was to share his story. Men in situations similar to Ric will learn that they are not alone. Sharing your story is the first step that men can take to raise awareness about prostate cancer.