I will never forget the day. I was at work 120 ft in the air on a catwalk, I am a pipe fitter by trade and spend a great deal of my time on cat walks and pipe bridges, when my cell phone rang. For several months I had been feeling poorly. I had lower back pain running down my legs that would not allow me to sleep without taking 4 Vicodin or any other pain pill I could get my hands on. I had a terrible cough that would not go away. I could barely pee without watering the waste basket, the toilet paper dispenser and the cat if it happened to come in the bathroom at the wrong time. Just recently every time I drank a Pepsi Cola I urinated a lot of blood. I knew something was wrong but I didn't want to know so I avoided the doctor and quit drinking Pepsi. After much counsel from my parents I went in to pee in a cup to see what was wrong.
Two weeks passed I heard nothing. Finally my primary care physician called me to inform me that I had blood in my urine. DUH!!!!! I went in and he listened to my chest and took an x-ray. Hey doc are my lungs suppose to have all these spots on them? Blood work was ordered and the next day I got the call. June 6 2006, 666 to you and me. "Mr Seals this is doctor. Sir, you have stage 4 prostate cancer. No sir, there is no doubt. Your PSA was over 3,200. Yes sir, that's real bad. Yes sir, it may very well be terminal." "Oh $&!^ .", says I and I almost fell off the cat walk.
My world came crashing down around me. I was going to die. What the H E double toothpick. Prostate cancer is an old man's disease. Two hours later I had my first Lupron injection and took my first Casodex. I was 42 years old and given less than a year to live. A nurse had just used a dull turkey baster to fill my butt full of thick glue and I swear she tried to inject it into the bone. I was at an all time low. I was gonna freaking die before the age of 50. I use to be real involved in the church. Not for a very long time. I was a twice divorced, an ex junky, ( I had spent the three previous years addicted to methamphetamine and had only been clean 10 months.) I had lost everything I ever valued and had just begun putting my life back together. I had a wonderful girlfriend who I really was in love with and my children were only just now allowing me back into their lives. I had two beautiful granddaughters and another on the way. I going to die. That's all I could think of. My life is over.
I live in a semi rural part of Washington State. Two miles from town the houses yield to dense forests and tree farms. On my way home that day I drove up an old dirt road and parked on a landing overlooking a recently logged hillside. From my vantage point I could see the valley below for miles. It was there that it all came to a head for me and I broke. Just a few tears at first sort of a 'poor me' cry but it grew to a heart wrenching sob. I cried for my mistakes and for the broken promises. I cried for my children and my parents. I cried for the people I had hurt and the ones I had let down. I cried for me and I cried because I had never felt more alone and lost. What was it going to be like to take my last breath. Would it hurt. Dear God I don't want to die there is so much left undone and so much I want to see. An hour later it was over. I had no more tears. I was both cleansed and spent. I sat for a while and took in all that was around me. I heard the birds. Gosh they sounded pretty. It was then that it happened.
A black bear wanders up the hillside and stops 20 ft from me and just looks at me. I have hunted wild game my whole life and had never seen a bear in the wild. I had always wanted to see one but never had. Maybe I smelled bad or made too much noise in the woods I really don't know but here is this bear just looking at me. After a minute he just wandered off. I went home and read my bible for the first time in a long time. I didn't know what I was going to read other than I wanted to read the Book of Psalms cuz its full of praise God this and that and I figured I needed that. I opened the book to PSA;lms and closed my eyes and pointed and looked above my finger and for the very first time I read these words. "Bless the lord oh my soul. He who heals my body of all its diseases." Psalms 103 WOW!!!!!!!!!!! That was good enough for me.
That was four and a half years ago. I still have stage 4 prostate cancer. My PSA fell to less than 0.05 and stayed there long enough to have a break from hormones. My scans showed no sign of cancer. It's still there. My PSA is up to 6.0 as of 3 weeks ago. My doctors still say I don't have much time. "Mr. Seals, the day will come when we won't be able to control it anymore." "Really," I say, "You're fired. Don't ever tell me the odds. He who is within me is greater than he who is in the world."
I am not a good Christian man. I drink and sometimes I drink too much. Sometimes I lie and sometimes I smoke. I play country music in honky tonks and have had my fair share of fornication and adultery. I have lusted after many women. I have been a real pig at times. My girlfriend who became my wife ended all of that the day she told me she would love me forever. I could never hurt her. I have never known a woman who could hold a candle to her. On the other side of the coin I do my best to be a good friend. I do my best to help others. I have a soft heart. I try to love people and I do my best to never judge.
Looking back on that very bad day I now see it for what it really was. It was a promise. That bear was God letting me know that he was not going to call me home until I had seen all the things and done all of the things that I wanted to do. He is the only reason I am here.
I know this is not a religious site and really I am not a religious man but I believe this to be true with all my heart and believing it gives me hope. In telling this story I pray it can give others hope. We battle on. We fight the fight. We get tired and want to give up. We wake up and we fight again. Prostate cancer is scary. I am no longer afraid. I pray that you may also find peace.
I am still here and doing pretty good. My last PSA a month ago was 10.55. That is up quite a bit from last year but I haven't been on any treatment until just recently. I still feel good and I plan on being around for a long time to come.
Last year starting on May 1st I received Provenge therapy. So far I feel amazing. If you are curious about who I am or what I look like go to provenge.com Click on "is Provenge right for me?". In the upper right hand corner click on Provenge power stories. I am the young guy wearing a hat. It has been 7 years since I was told I have a year to live. I feel pretty darned good for a dead guy. Please watch my videos. Todd
140 months since diagnosed stage 4 pca. I am doing well. I am undetectable. Life is very good. I feel so blessed.
Well, it as been 10 years 3 months, and 23 days since my Stage-IV diagnosis and I am still here. Hormones worked for 5 years. Provenge gave me another 17 months and I have been on Zytiga for these past 3 years. All in all, life is good. I am extremely happy and Mandy and I are living our life in spite of cancer. I have a blog where I have been documenting our Journey for the past few years. toddseals63.blogspot.com My message to men and their loved ones..... There is hope!!!
11 years and 4 months since stage IV DX. I am still here. PSA is holding steady at 0.01. I have been on Zytiga for 4 years now. How cool is that? Life is good. I still write my blog but not as often as I ran out of stuff to write about. It can be found at toddseals63.Blogspot.com There is hope people. There is hope!!!
Todd's e-mail address is: todd_seals AT comcast.net (replace "AT" with "@")