Prostate Cancer and Hope

Categories: Fall 2005
TP, Michael, and Jurate Murray
TP, at seven days, on his first outing with parents, Michael and Jurate Murray.

Late last August, at the time of the New Moon, on an Island in Northern Lake Michigan, a hopeful and loving couple was able-under trying circumstances- to give life to a child nicknamed “TP” who rests in my arms as I write these words.

These words, this story, and the circumstances involve prostate Cancer…and hope.

I learned I had Prostate Cancer via a cold, long-distance call from my first doctor’s secretary. Five day’s later I was in his office with my wife. My first reaction upon learning of my problem was to take action, to do something, in this case, at my doctor’s urging, to cut it out. That weekend!

My wife had better sense. My only thought had been to live so that she would not be alone. Her thoughts involved larger more hopeful possibilities. Two hours after leaving the initial doctor’s office, we were at the Northwestern University Endocrinology clinic.

There, a caring clinician gave us a “two-percent” chance of getting pregnant naturally, told us it would take two weeks for my wife’s system to eliminate the effect of birth control pills and begin the process of ovulation. He advised sperm bank deposits prior to surgery. Over the weekend I reached Dr. Catalona’s office and arranged a tentative surgery schedule for three weeks later. We’d have one week to try a natural conception without using my sperm bank deposits.

At the time of the New Moon we ran away to our secluded Island and…well, “TP” as the good doctors named him, now rests on my lap. He’s one month old today. He’s beautiful. So is his mother. So are all the medical folks who helped us through these “trying circumstances”.

So is Life…if you have Hope. But as some one once said: “Hope is a very good companion along the way, but generally a poor guide”.

The rest of this story is about guidelines for those who learn they have Prostate Cancer and still hope to have a family:

1. Go to the Sperm Bank: It is your safety net. It is your backup. Having 5 or 6 deposits will offer tremendous relief and remove pressures. Do not delay and do not avoid this preparatory step The process is not complicated. Having sperm in the bank will give you the necessary confidence and attitude to embrace other hopes more fully.

2. Take Control: Perhaps, you’ll want to delay your surgery for a week or two (or more, if allowed by you doctor). If you and your wife or partner really want to have a child, make it possible. Set it up. Control your time. Prepare for the possibility.

3. Imagine the Future: To plan for a family means planning for a future. In my case once I took control of my emotions, and put sperm in the bank, it did not even occur to me that I wouldn’t have a future.

4. Find the Energy: With the realization of a future comes energy for the present. Energy to have a baby. Energy to care for a family. Optimism that you will be around.

That’s my story. TP and Me. Or better, TP and me and my wife.

When I learned I had prostate cancer, life didn’t end. It began. It’s on my lap and it can be on yours too

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