Prostate cancer can be an overwhelming diagnosis for anyone.
But for Roger (pictured above), it became the inspiration for a lifelong mission to help other men facing the same diagnosis.
In 2001, at the age of 58, Roger received the news that he had this type of cancer. With retirement on the horizon, he was looking forward to the next phase of his life. But instead, now he was faced with the reality of a radical prostatectomy, which is the removal of the prostate gland.
“It was a scary time, and back then, robotic surgery wasn’t available,” Roger shares.
Despite his anxiety, the surgery was a success. Roger spent five days in the hospital, followed by weeks with a catheter.
But the road to recovery was far from over. Incontinence continued to challenge him for a full year after the surgery. The physical pain was bad enough, but the emotional toll was even worse. He felt isolated and depressed, with no one to talk to about what he was going through.
Finally, Roger found a support group at Mercy Health — St. Vincent Medical Center, and it changed his life.
The group gave him a way to connect with others who understood what he was going through. It also gave him hope and strength to keep going, even on the hardest days.
After years of attending meetings, Roger became a co-facilitator for the group. And eventually, he became the group facilitator, stepping up to lead the group, which has since moved to Mercy Health — St. Anne Hospital.
He completed his American Cancer Society training in 2012, determined to help as many men as possible get through their journey with prostate cancer. Now, at the age of 80, he is still going strong, driven by the desire to support others who are facing the same struggles he once did. The monthly support group meetings are a safe space where men can share their stories and support each other through their journeys.
For this survivor, the group has been a lifeline, and Roger hopes that other men will find the same comfort and solace in attending. Prostate cancer can be a daunting diagnosis. But, with the support of others who have been through it, Roger feels it can be a journey that is navigated with strength and hope.