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Intimate Conversations Part 1-Blog
This is a revision of an article that appeared in 2018.
Last year, I was at a conference session of Community Health Workers (CHWs) where the session topic was prostate cancer. Very few people attended. The discussion turned to the low attendance and the need to engage in prescreening and conversation. We agreed that women were highly influential concerning men and their health and that this was a challenging topic of conversation.
It’s been more ten years since my husband, Ron, and I started this journey with prostate cancer. I say we because it has not been his journey alone. We paused for reflection earlier this month as we remembered that September is National Prostate Health Month.
I remember the day he returned home from a doctor’s visit, telling me that the left lobe of his prostate was 80 percent cancerous. In the beginning, I was ignorant about the disease. I managed my concerns, fears, and apprehensions by keeping them hidden from my him and family. Inside I was filled with uncertainty about my Ron’s health, his future, our future, and yes, even his possible death. What would happen to him? What would happen to us? Questions…so many unanswered. So many questions unspoken. Conversations…more intimate conversations.
We talked. Neither of us really saying the unspeakable word-Death. And I leaned in…listening taking in all that I could, trying not to be overwhelmed. As we learned more about prostate cancer, our intimate conversations continued. One thing about prostate cancer, the more you talk, the more comfortable you get discussing what’s going on in your life.
I chose to focus on the choice that lessened the risk of death, encouraging my husband to choose surgery. We were so blessed because it appeared that his cancer had not spread outside the prostate. If so, the removal of the organ would nearly eliminate the spread of the cancer. Thanks be to the of God of the heaven and earth, Ron, was referred to a Godly surgeon and his robotic surgery was extremely successful.
My husband is alive and cancer free today! As the years have transitioned into others, our conversations continued, emerging as we faced various challenges of my husband’s cancer battle. Some of his battle was very personal and very private. His tests were always negative until about four years ago. When his PSA started to show a slight increase, the doctor suggested radiation over a 3-month period.
For Ron the treatment plan meant commitment and drinking that quart of water every day. For me, it meant being a support system, for a daily appointment and a high level of awareness and attention to side effects. They could mask themselves as “everyday stuff” of life and end up frustrating me (us) if I wasn’t careful. Things like sitting around, falling asleep, and not wanting to do anything. That was how the treatment affected him most. It drained his energy.
By the grace of God, Ron weathered another storm and the treatment was successful. His PSA level is undetectable for over a year now! I could tell you many other things about our conversations over the years. I’d rather share some lessons learned as our intimacy has grown because of our conversations with family, friends, supporters, congregations, medical providers, and most of all each other.
About the Blogger
About the Blogger
Izora is ordained minister actively engaged in ministry in the AME Zion Church in Central Florida. She is married to Rev. Ron Bullock and together they have six children and several grand and great grandchildren. Besides, spending time with family and friends, she is an avid Community Health Volunteer, seeking to bring together faith and good health practices.