Young Strong...Hit By Cancer

"I was in the airport parking lot when my doctor called"

The doctor called to tell me I had prostate cancer. I remember sitting there, stunned, thinking of my kids, my wife, my loved ones… and death. I wanted to be there for my family. I wanted to see my children grow up. When I finally decided to call my wife, as soon as I heard her voice, I started to cry.

It was a tough day. Later I went from fear, to disbelief. I thought: This can’t be right. I played in the NFL. I work out all the time. I’m in excellent shape. And I’m not even 40 yet. How can this be happening?
 
"Every man is susceptible"
 
But it was true. Prostate cancer can affect anyone. And every man is susceptible – old or young. Men from every walk of life have to know their risk for this disease, and they have to be accountable for it! That’s why I want to reach as many men as I can to encourage them to be proactive about their health. I want them to know that a simple PSA blood test can save their lives.

My father had prostate cancer many years ago, so I knew I had to be on guard. That meant I got regular PSA blood tests, even in my 30s.
 
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Todd with his wife and three children

In January 2013, one of those PSA tests showed that my PSA levels were elevated, and prompted my doctor to keep an eye on them. When I returned in 6 months for a follow-up, the test revealed an even higher PSA level, and a biopsy was scheduled. The results of that biopsy confirmed that I had prostate cancer.
 
"It was tough on the entire family"
 
My wife, Erin and I decided that surgery was the best way to go. I was in the hospital for only a day, but that was the only time I ever saw Erin cry, and it was difficult coming home, and seeing the look of concern on my children’s faces. It made me realize how tough prostate cancer is on the entire family. 

But we got through it together, and later we found out that the cancer had been contained entirely within the prostate. It had been a success.

I think one of the biggest challenges for me was overcoming the embarrassment I initially felt when I was diagnosed. I didn’t want to tell anyone at first because I was afraid people would look at me differently.
 
"Men are unaware of the disease" - Help us build awareness

Standing up and saying “I had prostate cancer, and I’m a survivor” was even tougher than playing in the NFL. But I soon began to realize just how unaware men are about this disease. People had so many misconceptions about prostate cancer – and about the PSA blood test. And the more I talked about it, the more men were going to the doctor and taking charge of their health.
 
I realized I could help Prostate Cancer Canada to spread the word about prostate cancer, so that men will get that critical PSA test.  I also know how important donor support is to help them fund the most innovative prostate cancer research, so that new methods of diagnosis and treatment are always being developed.
 
Together, we’ll encourage all men to be proactive and to “own their health”. That means men everywhere – of all ages and backgrounds – can hear the message, face prostate cancer and overcome it. I applaud your dedication to fighting this disease. 

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Posted: 2014-05-20 11:37:16 AM


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