The Four Unwanted Words

By Ron Telpner

Like my father before me, and my grandmother before him, I am a person of words. My daughter Meghan is the same.

I write for a living, whether it is copy for an ad, a speech for a client, or an opinion piece for a magazine. I love words. I love the architecture of a well-written paragraph. I get joy from seeing just how magical a turn of phrase can be.

I am 60 years old and a lot of words have crossed my lips, crossed my mind and ended up on a page, in an ad, or as a quote. Like I said, I love words.

But I never imagined the impact it would have on me of hearing the four words, strung together by my doctor, on September 7th, 2010.

Those words were, “ You have prostate cancer”.

I think he said a few more words after that, but I am not sure I heard them. The one thing I was clear on was that I heard, “you have cancer”.

Then he said something about let’s just wait and see what happens. Did I just hear him say, “You have cancer and we’ll just wait and see what happens?” I couldn’t believe it! Turns out he was right.

I was in shock. I felt light headed. What was I supposed to do, now that I had cancer? I did what came naturally. I went back to work.

I did my best to stay in control and hold back tears, as I relayed the news to my family and close friends that first week. The response was universal. They thought I should get another opinion, take action immediately, seek out additional experts, talk to a friend of friend, see a doctor they knew about, and on and on and on. Everyone had a different perspective.

I was upset, confused and frightened.

I immediately talked to three prominent urologists, and heard three different recommendations.

Then I did my homework. I read as much as I could, and I listened to the experts. Naturally, one of those experts was Meghan. And she brought all her knowledge, resources and contacts with her.

For me “Active Surveillance” is the route I am following, but I am taking control of my health in a way that is hard for some to comprehend.

With the support of family and friends, I have embraced a program of low glycemic diet, juicing, exercise, acupuncture, meditation, yoga and de-stressing.

Now, just two months later, my PSA has dropped from 5.8 to 4.76. While still high, it is moving in the right direction.

I know I will kick cancer and emerge a healthier and happier person.

I am truly appreciative of all the good wishes that came to me from you, Meghan’s readers. Your support and good karma are definitely helping me heal.

After 35 years of non-stop working in the advertising industry I have come to embrace this thought… Health is Wealth.