Author: Judith Anne Desjardins
Publisher: Spirit House Publishing
Other than skin cancer, one of the most common cancers among American men is prostate cancer. The American Cancer Society predicates that for the year 2014 in the USA 233,000 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed and approximately 29,480 men will die of this disease. It is further estimated that during his lifetime about one man in seven will be diagnosed with this type of cancer. Globally, it is the second most common type of cancer and the fifth leading cause of cancer-related death in men.
Most prostate cancers grow slowly, however, unfortunately there are some that are extremely aggressive and progress rapidly. The cancer cells may also spread from the prostate to other parts of the body, particularly the bones and lymph nodes. And the chilling part is that initially you may not even have any symptoms! In later stages it can cause difficulty urinating, blood in the urine, or pain in the pelvis, back or when urinating. There is good news, however, today more men are being cured of this disease than ever before.
In 2011 Judith Anne Desjardins' husband was one of those one in seven unlucky men when he received the devastating news that he had a very aggressive form of prostate cancer. It was not the low-risk, “active surveillance” kind of cancer but rather the dangerous, life-threatening type. And as Desjardins states in the Prologue to her Our Journey with Prostate Cancer:Empowering Strategies for Patients and Families: “it was as if we had been shot into the air by a cannon.”
Using extracts from her daily journal, Desjardins presents her own personal detailed account of the emotional and psychological roller coaster that prostate cancer has on herself and her husband. Her motive for writing her book is to offer guidance and earnestly share her and her husband's ongoing experiences in dealing with prostate cancer in the hopes that her readers will find comfort and power whether they are patients or the patient's loved ones.
Dividing her book into seven chapters, Desjardins, in her highly effective writing style, offers a host of suggestions and sage advice pertaining to the navigation of the medical system, insights into your own emotional-psychological-spiritual processes, a blueprint for battling prostate cancer, and “the courage to fight prostate cancer with all of your might-while maintaining a loving relationship.” Her journey includes the shock of her husband's diagnosis, his facing of immediate fears, their finding out all there is to know about prostate cancer, its treatment options, robotic-assisted radical prostatectomy, which her husband underwent, waiting for the first post-surgery PSA results, androgen deprivation therapy and radiation as well as what comes after this latter treatment.
Without a doubt, Our Journey with Prostate Cancer serves as an excellent primer and provides essential reading for anyone that has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Desjardins is very candid in presenting the facts and nothing is sugar-coated or downplayed concerning the seriousness of prostate cancer. What's more, she has shown a great deal of compassion for the families and her readers by her elucidation and frank presentation of the procedures for diagnosis and treatment options while meticulously examining their risks, rewards, issues, complications and after-effects which can and often do arise after prostate cancer has been diagnosed. Throughout the book, she also underlines the importance of supporting one's husband, to be open to changes that the diagnosis and treatments will present and above all to be assertive in being your own advocate. As she states: “When you're dealing with cancer you don't have time to be timid, laid back, or hopeful that someone else is going to take care of you.” What is more, she is a very strong proponent that your spirit is your strongest personal weapon and must be incorporated into your plan of action, and incidentally, this is likewise applicable to any form of cancer or life threatening disease and not necessarily prostate cancer. Kudos to Desjardins for her courage and for sharing her experiences and that of her husband's in fighting prostate cancer.