Keith showed up at one of our weekly support groups and was greeted warmly by a number of the longer-term regulars. Once the group started, the leader Darryl turned to him and asked how he was doing and what brought him back to the group.
It seemed that Keith was again in trouble with his prostate cancer. For the benefit of us slightly newer group participants who did not know him, he shared a brief history of his battle with advanced prostate cancer. Keith was stricken with multiple mets through out his body. He had elected to forgo traditional treatment and became an avid supporter of alternative treatments. He consulted with many homeopathic physicians, was a believer in doing body cleansings and monitored his diet like nobody else I have met. He took many supplements including a fermented wheat product he swore by.
What interested me most was a treatment he took in Germany. The treatment involved receiving infusions of a dendrite treatment that sounded, by his brief description, similar to Provenge (search for my many posts about Provenge and prostate cancer vaccines). If I remember correctly, he had already been to Germany on two separate occasions for this treatment. Each time his PSA dropped significantly and came back under control.
Keith had recently married a much younger woman (I believe that Keith himself was only about 50 years old). He described her as “a hot blooded Brazilian” who enjoyed sex. He relished in his decision to forego traditional treatment and thus maintain his potency. They traveled extensively and clearly enjoyed each other.
Keith shared that he had been lulled back to his old job as a trader on Wall Street. He reported that soon after returning to work, which provided him great levels of tension, his prostate cancer again re-emerged and his PSA skyrocketed. He quit the job and swore never to go back to work. However, he was not able to regain control of the cancer.
He stopped coming back to the group, but occasionally he was in contact with some of the group members. Recently, one of the group members reported that during the week he attended Keith’s funeral!
In retrospect, I admit that in a short time I grow to respect Keith and his decisions. I envoy his ability to make decisions that are not traditional. I also envoy that he was able to maintain his sexuality despite his doctors telling him he was making great errors. His decisions were correct for him, so I think of Keith with great reverence and respect.
Joel T Nowak, MA, MSW