During Doug's surgery on December 4, 2002, it was discovered that his tumour had grown to 40% of the weight of his prostate.
After the surgery
Radical prostatectomy is major surgery. Doug was in a lot of pain, but he returned to work six weeks after surgery. Life began to get back to a "new normal." By May 2003, he started exercising again, having lost 30 pounds.
But life never is the same. "The day after surgery I was elated," Doug says. "But once I got into February, I started worrying about recurrence – you don't think of this at first. But it creeps up and nags at your brain. Did they get it all?"
A changed life
Cancer takes a toll on you both physically and emotionally. Doug is frank: "There is an emotional recovery – my sense of immortality was shattered – with cancer, your body turns on itself."
Prostate cancer has changed Doug – his life has new challenges. He gets up two or three times a night to go to the washroom. He lost one nerve during the procedure, and it can take a while for complete function to return. "My body feels different. I am more aware of my symptoms – is this just a headache or back pain? You get in the habit of checking things out."
In many ways, though, Doug's life has become enriched.
"Am I lucky or unlucky to have had cancer? My focus now is that I survived cancer and I am stronger – I can do anything. I want to think I am lucky that I appreciate life more and what is important. I've stopped doing things that don't add value to my life. You have to choose: do you live life fully or not?"
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